Do you ever stand before your bookcase, wanting something, but not quite knowing what? Like having an unnamed food craving and ferreting through the fridge, through the cabinets, hoping that even though you don’t know what you are searching for, you might find it anyway. That is how it feels to me, scanning through the spines, pulling out a book here, only to put it back there, dissatisfied. What is this nameless hunger only a right book will sate?
No, I understand exactly what you mean. I've spent three hours in a bookshop and ended up walking out empty handed because nothing was right. I've never bought a book just to have something to read. I'm much the same way with music too. There has to be a connection. That said there are books I've bought that I thought were right that weren't and they have to wait years on my shelves for me to be in the mood to give them a second chance.
Yes, the mood has to be right. And oftentimes, it is exasperatingly difficult to know what this mood is and what book it wants.
"Do you ever stand before your bookcase, wanting something, but not quite knowing what? Like having an unnamed food craving and ferreting through the fridge, through the cabinets, hoping that even though you don’t know what you are searching for, you might find it anyway. That is how it feels to me, scanning through the spines, pulling out a book here, only to put it back there, dissatisfied. What is this nameless hunger only a right book will sate?"
Oh, yes, I do. And I am terrified by it… My bookcases keep getting larger and bulkier, and I wish my speed to read them all would keep up. I look at my books as if I were an affectionate stamp collector. I stand, I stare, I smell at my books -- unable to choose. Zero decision making competency. Not because no book seems good enough, but because each is so good that it almost feels each would get insulted for picking one over the other. And I keep dropping one, sooner than I pick the next one. Insanity. The disease of having too many good options! Could it be the same disease of consumerism, of the ones who can’t get enough of shoes, dresses, jewels, women, cars?
A few days ago after a couple of delicious reading hours I left The Brothers Karamazov at a point, where I couldn’t wait to turn back to. I had to run to the grocery store and took the book with me (as if hoping I’d find some time to catch up while waiting in line to the cashier). Then I ended up at Chapters. My feet took me to the poetry section and I stopped just for a moment. Just to take a swift little glance at La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) of Dante Alighieri. Precisely, just for a few tiny seconds at Canto II of Paradiso. But then somehow I got lost inside Eugenio Montale’s introduction. I couldn’t stop. Couldn’t get out of it. Damn, I have to read this book, all of it, front to end! Definitely! How could I not? And soon it was 10:00 pm and the store was closing. Lovely edition, great translation. Hundreds of pages still to be read. To buy or not to buy? $32 ($26 with discount). Yes? No? Be patient – get over your shopping impulses! Why don’t you look for better prices online?
I went home, approaching my desk, ready to start searching on my lap top. Damn! Eric Kandel’s 'In Search of Memory' was waiting for me, page 113. And another note stuck on the screen reminded me I had to check Chapter 2 and Chapter 5 from Stanislas Dehaene’s ‘Reading in the Brain’ for my paper… And, next, 3 excellent articles awaiting to be read ASAP. And the other report due 2 days from now... And, it is midnight! Oh, Mercy! Which one should I pick? Where should my attention go? What do I do now? Oh, I am so linear. Embarrassingly slow. Such an impossible prioritiser and terrible multi-tasker. Unfit for this crazy batty world!
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