Reading Cold Mountain, I didn’t want the novel to end. Charles Frazier’s highly acclaimed novel of a wounded deserter’s epic journey back from the Civil War was published in 1997, and I can still recall seeing the unearthly blue book jacket everywhere. And everyone, it seemed, was talking about the book. How impenetrable those first fifty pages were (yet how generously the story revealed itself in the pages following). The fascination of the nineteenth century DIY methodology. The heart-breaking tension of the book’s final pages. Reading those last pages, I remember allowing myself only a handful each night, hoping to delay the inevitable arrival of the novel’s hero, Inman, and his reunion with the genteel Ada, waiting for him back in Cold Mountain. When I finally reached those last lines, the feeling was one only the best books provide—complete sadness that the world it so vividly offered up had come to an end.