I have talked about reading before, and I love the way Susan Sontag defines its place in a writer’s life:
“A writer is first of all a reader. It is from reading that I derive the standards by which I measure my own work and according to which I fall lamentably short. It is from reading, even before writing, that I became part of a community—the community of literature—which includes more dead than living writers.”
Over the years I’ve read books, scores of them. A few of them I remember in their entirety, I remember the essence of others, and still others I’ve forgotten, and the only thing I remember is scattered images. They’ve gone down into me somewhere, all these books, become subsumed, distilled. Maybe they flow in my veins, who knows.
I’m not sure I can go back to reading everything I’ve read before, or even the ones I really liked. There are too many good books I haven’t read at all and am dying to read. So many books, so little time. Even when I finish 2 books a week, I’m only able to read 8 a month, and about 100 a year. Not really enough. Well, I sometimes finish a book in a day, or two , but then there are spells when I can only get in a few lines seated on my throne in the morning, or a chapter at bedtime.
So books once read stay that way. But now I’ve discovered Librarything, and once I’m done posting into my virtual library, I’ll put up its widget on my writing blog, so I can get reminders on what books lie on my reading shelf. I can look at books I’ve read, but are no longer with me, and maybe decide to buy them again to put on my tottering, real-world bookshelves.
What about you? How do you relate to books–the ones you have read and ones yet to read?