The measure of a philistine

The measure of a philistine

Zafón’s bibliophile characters are often as opinionated as they are erudite, and have no truck with people who barely read.  I liked this summary dismissal. ‘… but he was the sort who can’t even read the size of his underpants.’ Source:...
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...
‘Write,’ he said

‘Write,’ he said

A fine parting injunction to a friend you are seeing off at the train station.  Julián did as he was told.   ‘Write,’ he said. ‘I’ll write to you as soon as I get there,’ answered Julián. ‘No.  Not to me.  Write books.  Not...
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...
Television as Antichrist

Television as Antichrist

Again, one of the articulate, adorable and utterly opinionated characters in which Ruiz Zafón’s book abounds.  The doom-laden consequences of television didn’t quite pan out as disastrously, but the elaborate and colourful damnation of the poor machine is...
We exist while we are remembered

We exist while we are remembered

This theme captivates me and I have other quotations on the idea that we live for as long as someone remembers us.  The same applies to music, books, places, languages; they die when nobody remembers them. ‘He used to say that we exist as long as somebody...
Presents are for those who give

Presents are for those who give

A generous dismissal of a recipient’s need to feel worthy of a gift.  Ruiz Zafón’s book is full of generous characters and the presents and kindnesses they give. So, use this phrase the next time someone appears overwhelmed by your generosity, it might...
The pitfalls of childhood

The pitfalls of childhood

What a sad commentary on the wounds we inflict on children before they are equipped to comprehend what has happened and perhaps fend off its worst effects. ‘One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn’t have to understand something to feel it.  By...

Pin It on Pinterest