death by paper cut

{March 7, 2007}   do you read me?

of buying 2nd hand books
i am not extraggerating when i say that to a true collector the acquisition of an old book is its rebirth. this is the childlike element which in a collector mingles with the element of old age. for children can accomplish the renewal of existence in a hundred unfailing ways. among children, collecting is only one process of renewal; other processes are the painting of objects, the cutting out of figures, the application if decals – the whole range of childlike modes of acquisition, from touching things to giving them names. to renew the old world – that is the collector’s deepest desire when he is driven to acquire new things, and that is why a collector of older books is closer to the wellsprings of collecting than the acquirer of luxury editions.- Unpacking my Library

on buying books on travels

i have made my most memorable purchases on trips, as a transient. property and posession belong to the tactical sphere. collectors are people with a tactical instinct; their experience teaches them that when they capture a strange city, the smallest antique shop can be a fortress, the most remote stationery store a key position. how many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches i undertook in the pursuit of books!

– Unpacking my Library

on the secret brotherhood of books

Something else raised him above the others as well: he had an open book on his table. No one had ever opened a book in that restaurant before. In Tereza’s eyes, books were the em­blems of a secret brotherhood. For she had but a single weapon against the world of crudity surrounding her: the books she took out of the municipal library, and above all, the novels. She had read any number of them, from Fielding to Thomas Mann. They not only offered the possibility of an imaginary escape from a life she found unsatisfying; they also had a meaning for her as physical objects: she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others.

– The Unbearable Lightness of Being

there is an unspoken alliance between avid book readers of a certain genre, or even between any book lover. its not so much about the level of education of the person (since books are now accessible to anyone and the distinction between high and low culture blurred), but about the natural gravitation of certain personalities towards certain types of book.

the passages i highlighted are not even an anaysis of brillant passages but the candid description of all book worms alike.

you can’t read people like a book, but its not difficult to be on the same page with them.


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