Monday, November 17, 2008

Gaudeamus Igitur

is two years old today. I'll mark the occasion with this passage from Orhan Pamuk, whose essay "How I Got Rid of Some of My Books" appears in Other Colors, one of the books in my current rotation:

A writer's progress will depend on a large degree on having read good books. But to read well is not to pass one's eyes and one's mind slowly and carefully over a text: it is to immerse oneself utterly in its soul. This is why we fall in love with only a few books in a lifetime. Even the most finely honed personal library is made up of a number of books that are all in competition with one another. The jealousies among these books endows the creative writer with a certain gloom. Flaubert was right to say that if a man were to read ten books with sufficient care, he would become a sage.

There are a lot of books jostling for position on my list, but if I were confronted by the candidates in an array, I suspect I would reach first for Cormac's McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. And you?

1 comment:

C. Watson said...

That's an intense question. For me, it works a little differently. The books I hold closest get tacked to some kind of internal timeline of my life. So, for example, when I think of teenagerhood, I find peace with Cry the Beloved Country, The Power of One, and A Clockwork Orange, college was Homer. Now, well, I'm not sure. But your post did make me think of the book BJohnson loaned me yesterday: Music, In A Foreign Language. It's that meta-writer and reader thing that's fascinating and engaging for me on a whole 'nother level after reading the brain books.
PS - You should check out what my class is doing with Wordpress Multiuser blogs for their free choice books.