for the chapter "The Lives of the Dead"
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The metaphor is death to a book.
“Well, right now,” she said, “I’m not dead. But when I am, it’s like…I don’t know, I guess it’s like being inside a book that nobody’s reading.”
“A book?” I said.
“An old one. It’s up on a library shelf, so you’re safe and everything, but the book hasn’t been checked out for a long, long time. All you can do is wait. Just hope somebody’ll pick it up and start reading.” (245)