On the culling of books

On the culling of books

I have long put off writing this post because I have an aversion to it.  A while back I bought a second hand book by Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium (to be reviewed – at only 124 pages it packs in well over 124 things to think about or follow...
The delusional business of book selling

The delusional business of book selling

This lovely, zestful, imaginative novel has one of the protagonists finding a job in a bookshop.  He tentatively shares with his boss the fact that he seems to be seeing things, namely a full grown living lion on the streets of a town far from any leonine landscapes. ...
Culling of books …

Culling of books …

I sometimes feel like this when we go to the flea market in Geneva and survey a lifetime’s worth of books chucked into banana boxes by the house clearance company sent to empty all trace of a life lived and ended.  When I find something I can cherish among the...
Book as mirror I

Book as mirror I

A great riposte, of course, and true to a large extent.  Having dismissed a book, it sometimes happens that I come back to it later, even decades later, and wonder at how absent I must have been at the previous encounter. This quotation is echoed much later in the...
Book as mirror II

Book as mirror II

One of the most reassuring and surprising insights I found in reading Harold Bloom’s literary criticism, was the realization that he wrote for a hidden audience of ‘great readers’ engaged in their own intimate rituals, and that, in this, I was less...
Books lost and gained

Books lost and gained

In Leigh Fermor’s enchanting walk across Europe, he find islands of great hospitality where he can rest and recuperate from intermittently roughing it.  Remote aristocratic homes which he intimates were often destroyed in the maelstrom of the war that was to...
Moth-ridden masterpieces

Moth-ridden masterpieces

The Shadow of the Wind assembles a posse of ‘bibliophile knights’ who hang out in cafés to save the moribund from extinction.  See also the dim view Barceló takes of people who haven’t mastered Latin on the shallow grounds that it is a dead language....

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