The bargain book bin near the checkout line at the supermarket reels me in every time. While strategizing about the fastest line – less people, but fuller carts, or longer queue but less items? – I stop there to see what the offerings are. At $3.99 a book, it’s hard to go wrong. If there is historical fiction by Jeff Shaara, I pick that up for my dad, and then I pick through the pile for me, settling on Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout – the Times 100 Noteable Books emblem on the front endorsing my choice. While hefting the groceries from cart to trunk out in the parking lot, I catch a glimpse of the book in one of the bags, and revel in the beauty of purchasing a portal to a new world for merely $3.99.
This week began my spring break and with it time to delve into Ms. Strout’s drama. It all went along swimmingly enough until page 125 which was nonsensically followed by page 142, ensued by page 127, then 144. Having just finished teaching number patterns to my second graders, I deftly noticed that my left hand pages were skip counting odd numbers by twos, while the right was ascending by twos on the evens, but 18 pages ahead.
I began flipping pages hither and yon, following the story of Mary and her daughter Angelina and their four-year reunion in Italy on the even numbered pages, not to be outdone by Pete and his sister Lucy at her book signing in Chicago on the odds. Not being a big multi-tasker to begin with, following the two simultaneous threads became a heroic effort – not to mention the math involved. After working my way through a good parcel of pages and wondering if I could continue to makes sense of the jumble, I landed on page 141, which miraculously flowed seamlessly into page 142.
Ah, the things we take for granted!
It never occurred to me that reading books with consecutively number pages was one of them.
But now I know it is.