The rental house on Cape Cod where I’ve spent part of nearly every August since I was 9 years old has an amazing library. It’s one of the appeals of the place: the opportunity to dig around in all those books, familiar and unfamiliar at once. They’re not my books — and yet, after all this time, I know them so intimately that it almost feels as if they were.
I first read [Slaughterhouse Five], after all, in this very house, when I was 12 or 13. To return to it 36 years later was to confront viscerally the central point of the book, which is that time is not a continuum but a collection of simultaneous moments, that everything we have ever done and everything we will ever do co-exists within us all at once.
40 years going to the same vacation home? And the same books have been there the whole time? The continuity! I just can’t get over it. I wonder what it’s like to have a place like that…?