It’s a very cold November night and after a busy day baking bread and buns and a delicious apple tart, plus writing an important letter, doing laundry, making a yummy pizza from scratch, writing comments for my Flickr friends’ amazing photos I am finally sitting down on my cozy couch near the crackling fire to write my weekly post. Now I can catch my breath after this lengthy sentence, which my teacher in my long past school days would not have approved of.
I am remembering the long fall and winter evenings in my childhood and youth, which i would spend reading curled up in a comfortable chair or in my bed.
When i grew up, books were for me the major source of entertainment, diversion and education. Our family like most of my friends didn’t have television, computers, record players or even a phone or other electronic gadgets. My father had a small radio to listen to the news. We had to find other means of entertainment.
Although I was allowed to visit my friends, I had to return home before dark, which cut my visits short in the fall and winter months.
Thus, books were my major source of exploring the world. As I mentioned in an earlier post i read my first novel secretly, when I was six or seven years old. This book was my first love and I still love it to this day.
I remember seeing it on my mother’s bedside table, when we still lived in our big house in Gotha. I had just learned to read and was intrigued by the size of this book, which my father had given my mother as a present. The title “Antonio Adverso” (Anthony Adverse is the original title) sounded mysterious and beautiful like a lovely melody.
I started reading the first few words and sentences feeling accomplished and proud that I could decipher and understand some of what I read. Intoxicated by my success i continued and suddenly felt drawn into a mysterious strange world far beyond my years. I would take every opportunity to hide in the bedroom and continue to immerse myself into the fascinating adventures and experiences of my hero Antonio Adverso as he was called in German. When confronted with difficult passages I had a great capacity for intuitively feeling or sensing what my brain could not yet understand or explain. With the help of my vivid imagination i was able to finish reading this amazing life story of an orphaned twin and his miraculous and adventurous life journey spanning many countries of the world. All universal aspects and topics of life are touched in this epic novel. Eventually i told my incredulous mother that I had secretly read her amazing book.
Over the years I have reread this fascinating novel of more than a 1000 pages several times. i sent it to Peter to read when we were first engaged and i wanted to name our first son Anthony. We ended up giving that name to our third son because there were already four Anthonys in the maternity ward, when our first son was born,
My mom’s book is still in my possession, but it is old and tattered now. However, Peter was able to find an original Amarican edition on ebay a few years ago. I was surprised to discover that the previous owner of the book may have never read it but used it to press delicate flowers. Some pages were still not cut open as was the custom in the long past.
Anthony Adverse was first published in 1933 and remained the bestseller of that time until Gone with the Wind swiped away the lead.
In 1999 Anthony Adverse was republished and is available through amazon.com. I can highly recommend this epic novel, which spans continents and touches all aspects of life. It still has relevance for this day and age. Anthony Adverse’s miraculous story will touch the heart and mind of every reader as it touched mine. Anthony Adverse has been my first love and I’ll never forget him.