Thursday, February 28, 2013
The Weight of Books
David Ulin, for the Los Angeles Times, discusses the physical presence of books.
From the piece...
She’s right, my wife — the books are taking over the house, as they have taken over every house in which I’ve ever lived. Since childhood, I’ve been both reader and collector, not just defining but, in the most tangible sense imaginable, framing my world through books.
Yes, books are about the interior journey, the fluid back-and-forth between writer and reader, reader and writer, the interplay upon which literature depends. This is one of the best things about them, their insistence that we can only be enlarged, illuminated, by entering the imagination of another, which, in turn, inhabits ours.
And yet, there is another side of books, their physical presence: the sheer weight of all those volumes, the space they occupy. When I look at my books, arrayed from room to room now in their pleasing order, what I see are not just the ideas or narratives they represent but themselves as manifestations of my life.