Reading

Does there exist an experience more quenching than reading a piece of writing so plump and perfect that you can't help but set parts of it aside to savor again later?

I ask because I finished reading Michael Chabon's "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" earlier this day and found myself, very shortly afterward, scanning its pages once more with the hope of rediscovering passages I wish I had starred.

Below are a handful of my favorites.

"Despite the sixty-mile-an-hour wind, his black hair lay fat and shiny and motionless on his head, like ersatz hair of papier-mâché and varnish. Another happy cloud of dullness bloomed and settled over my senses. I tossed away my cigarette and took up my position once more, clenching the chrome luggage rack behind me and taking great swallows of air, like a jet engine."

"Each of his words was a softly falling little dollop of English mashed potatoes."

"I thought, I fancied, that in a moment I would be standing on nothing at all, and for the first time in my life, I needed the wings none of us has."

"Riding on a city bus along the route that you have taken from your job, from the movies, from a hundred Chinese meals, with the same late sun going down over the same peeling buildings and the same hot smell of water in the aftershower air, can be, in the wake of a catastrophe, either a surrealistic nightmare of the ordinary or a lunge into the warm waters of beautiful routine."

"When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another's skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness—that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything."