Friday, September 25, 2009


All I want to do is read. I want to quit my job so I can stay home and read all day. I wish that, as a (free) alternative to grad school, I could just move to some kind of hybrid of a library and a monastery. I'd take a vow of silence and dedicate myself to nothing but reading for one or two years. Lately, I am so overwhelmed with the desire to read everything all at once, I am finding it impossible to focus on one thing at a time.

I started reading a series of lectures on character archetypes. (Kindly provided to me by Scott, of Go Into The Story.) But thinking about character archetypes reminded me that I had been meaning to read The Portable Jung, which had been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of months at that point. So I decided to read The Portable Jung before I finished reading Scott's lectures. But it's taking me forever because I keep getting lost in my own thoughts while I'm trying to read. So I decided to take a break from that and read The Journeybook instead. Since The Journeybook is a collection of fairly short essays and interviews, I managed to get through it without getting sidetracked. And then, before I could get back into The Portable Jung, I started reading "The Holy Grail of the Unconscious," from this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine. But for several days I was unable to get past the first couple of pages, because I kept getting the sense that I shouldn't read it until I was able to really give it my full attention. Last night I finally got a chance to finish reading the article and now, of course, I am frantic to read the Red Book. But it won't be available until December 4th and I probably won't actually get my hands on it until Christmas, so in the meantime I have renewed motivation to finish The Portable Jung.

Anyway, BOOKS, you know? This article about the Red Book sent my mind reeling in a hundred directions, but one thing I keep thinking about is how much I love books as physical objects. I am not completely opposed to the idea of e-readers, by which I mean, they're fine for other people but I don't have any interest in owning a Kindle or a Sony Reader. Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent blogged very enticingly about reading on his iPhone, which only intensified my iPhone lust. But I can't justify the monthly cost of an iPhone now or anytime in the foreseeable future, and even if I did get one at some point, I would definitely still buy a lot of paper books. Because I just love books. I love buying books and I love holding books and I love looking at them on my shelf. I love the way they smell. I have seen the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin on five different occasions, and I'd gladly go see it again if I had the opportunity. The Red Book is going to be on display at the Rubin Museum of Art from October through January, which is so coincidentally perfect because Ed and I were already planning to go to the Rubin when we're home for Christmas, to see an exhibition of mandalas. Until a few days ago I had never even heard of this book but now I am beyond excited to go see it in person and then read my own copy immediately afterward.

To conclude this gushy, unfocused, maybe slightly insane blog post, here are some of my favorite books. Not my favorite literary works, but the books that I count among my most treasured possessions.


Ed said...

I need a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves.

susan said...

the saddest sight I know is a box of books with no shelf for a home.