Tag Archives: Books

“So we were back at the beginning again.”

Some books announce themselves with a punch to the gut, some with a sting. Some sneak up on you and take care to embrace you with a numbness that expands as you need it to—all the better to prepare you for the sick, sly shock of recognition. Of course: The trap that awaits me whenever I seek to feel less alone with books points to the seeming ubiquity of scenes from my life. My story is not the most original thing, is the reminder; devastations like mine are never unique. See: Someone long dead has already conjured the very words that carved out something bright and soft and essential from within you, and set them to a fiction. [Continue reading.]

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Regarding longing

Consider the peculiar dangers of provoking desire through the books one reads; how words on a page can remind you of a longing you thought you’d long ago calmed, or tease you into considering the weight of someone else’s gaze, or galvanize you into crossing a once interminable distance to take the wrong person’s hand in yours and confess a wanting. Consider this unflinching definition of desire, brought forward by Siri Hustvedt via the very first line of an essay: “Always a hunger for something, and it always propels us somewhere else, toward the thing that is missing.” (And, here, remind yourself of Anne Carson declaring, “Desire moves. Eros is a verb.”) See yourself armed—first with your library, and then perhaps (of course) with your longings. And then, please, consider yourself in a reality where you moved, arms laden with the books that compelled you. [Continue reading?]

The cost of this

I’ve been turning a thought over and over in my hands for the past several weeks, holding it up against the light when my arms can bear the weight. Just thinking—navel-gazing, really, and a little mopily. About the writing I do about books, for books—here, in this space, and elsewhere online, and (to a lesser extent) what appears of me in traditional print. It’s an exhaustion-borne thought, I know this—but I don’t know how it got to this point, that it can actually calcify into a whole thought, or when it started brewing. It’s a declaration, one that’s (upsettingly) more assured than most of the sentences that’s sprung whole in my mind: I want to stop writing about books, because I want to stop trying to justify myself. [Continue reading.]