Friday, August 29, 2008

More about books

From Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller: a list that all readers will understand—of books that call to you in a bookstore:

Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out:
the Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages,
the Books You've Been Hunting For Years Without Success,
the Books Dealing With Something You're Working On At The Moment,
the Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Handy Just In Case,
the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer,
the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves,
the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified,
Now you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and the Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them.



Diana Celesky said...

Great list. I also have the subsection of Books That Friends Swear You Have to Read Because They Know It Was Written Just for You.

Edittorrent said...

Diana, I have this weird response when a friend says that... I'm biased against the book even before I open it. This doesn't keep me, of course, from thrusting a beloved book on someone else and saying, "I know you'll love this book! You HAVE to read it!"