My first perception of Borges is Borges himself. In other words: I see Borges. Let me explain. I must be nine or ten and I’m walking my uncle, who’s in his twenties, along the pedestrian Calle Florida in Buenos Aires. I say that I’m walking my uncle because my uncle is blind. My uncle hoped to become a great painter. During his adolescence he’d won important scholarships and prizes, but he went blind from juvenile diabetes, and at this point – he doesn’t know it, but he senses it – he has two or three or four years left to live. So we’re walking and suddenly someone says, ‘There’s Borges,’ and I look and I see Borges and I say to my uncle, ‘There’s Borges.’ Borges is coming toward us and he, too, is on the arm of a friend or a fan and then my blind uncle – who was the humorous type, wickedly funny – shouts ‘Borges! How are you? You look great.’ And Borges turns his unseeing gaze on the precise spot from which the voice of my blind uncle issues and reaches him and the two of them look at each other without seeing each other, and there I am, in between, unable to believe what I’m seeing.
You should never read just for “enjoyment.” Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick “hard books.” Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, “I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.” Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of “literature”? That means fiction, too, stupid.
Just arrived at the office!!!
A bookcase is as good as a view, as much of a panorama as the sight of a city or a river. There are dawns and sunsets in books - storms and zephyrs.
Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.
Mademoiselle Guillaumin Reading (1907). Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin (French, Impressionist, 1841-1927). Oil on canvas.
Guillaumin was a close friend of the painter Camille Pissarro, whom he met while studying at the Académie Suisse. Guillaumin exhibited in the Salon des Refusés in 1863 and in the first Impressionist exhibit in 1874.
Favourite book shelf in my room
Two proof copies of The Years, Virginia Woolf, 1937.
“I wonder if anyone has ever suffered so much from a book as I have from The Years. Once out I will never look at it again. It’s like a long childbirth. Think of that summer, every morning a headache, and forcing myself into that room in my nightgown; and lying down after a page: and always with the certainty of failure. Now that certainty is mercifully removed to some extent. But now I feel I don’t care what anyone says so long as I’m rid of it. And for some reason I feel I’m respected and liked. But this is only the haze dance of illusion, always changing. Never write a long book again. Yet I feel I shall write more fiction—scenes will form.”
— Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 10 November 1936.
The first duty of the novelist is to entertain. It is a moral duty. People who read your books are sick, sad, traveling, in the hospital waiting room while someone is dying. Books are written by the alone for the alone.
Hi i was wondering if you had any recommendations for books for a book club that AREN'T super sad and depressing - I can't take the heartache anymore ! haha thanks so much!! :) (from swagtasticelastic)
I have noticed when I saw your question that all the books about book clubs and booklovers I have read and I know are sad and gloomy. So I am not sure what I can recommend you. Any help folks?