Tuesday, May 08, 2007

People who read too much

A few bookish quotes from Amity Gaige's The Folded World (I finished it, I loved it, I will be seeking out Gaige's first novel):

In fact, at times, she seemed unaware of her own body, such as happens to people who read too much.

From her earliest memories, she had lived much of life in someone else's story, so absorbed she often forgot to drink and sleep, for so pleasantly abstract was her heavy body when she read.

Sometimes, opening a fresh book, Alice would say to herself: This is the last book. This is the last story that is not my own.

"I used to read, night and day. Everything. When I was little, I used to keep a book open in my lap during dinner. I couldn't stop. Once, my mother grabbed my book and--" Alice opened her hand, remembering, "tossed it out the kitchen window."

She turned the page, jostling the drowsing infant on her knee. In the distant town of Combray, at noon, the steeple bell of Sainte-Hilaire sounded twelve times, and the cook trundled out to collect her goods--the fresh brill from the fish-woman, the cherries, the almond paste, and the chocolate cream. Word spilled into word infinitely, page into page. Careful to keep the bottle fast in the child's mouth, she turned another page. A draft washed across the floor.

The schoolteacher threw his coat on a chair and collapsed into it. He rested his big, curly head against his hand, lacking the strength to remove his shoes. Under his feet, the patterns in the shabby Persian carpet seemed to have faced even more since yesterday. Such was the exhaustion of Fridays. Such was the way he saw things on Fridays, after a week of teaching the youth of this country. But why's it called Portrait of a Young Artist? one of them had crowed that afternoon. I mean, I don't get it. The guy doesn't make any art.

All of a sudden he understood that he had always been a terrible poet and always would be. He wrote poems of sanity. And as Sophocles had said, all the poetry of sanity would be brought to naught by the poetry of madness, and behold, at the end of time, the sane poets would not matter.

8 comments:

Matt said...

I don't think I've ever bought a book the way you bought this one, I might to be anal to do it, but I think it would be great.

Thank you for the quotes. I think quotes from a book can be just as good or, sometimes, better than a review in helping one decide if they'd like to read it. My favorite is the fourth quote, "I used to read..."

SFP said...

I'm too anal to do it that way very often, Matt, and honestly, unless I switch genres, it's too hard to find books by authors that I haven't already heard of, or heard some degree of buzz about. But that's the way I did it when I was a child, and I do miss the feeling that I've discovered a wonderful book that no one else knows about.

bhadd said...

Love made me abstract Sunday and almost ran car over whatever. Abstracted me into mush nearly, honest.

The Hood Company

Sam Houston said...

Thanks for the comments and quotes...I'm going to take a look at this one mainly because of the way you titled this post "People Who Read Too Much." If that's not me in a nutshell, I don't know what is.

Bybee said...

I refuse to accept that there's such a thing as "Reading too much". "Buying too many books" is a little difficult to accept.

SFP said...

I bet we all know someone who's claimed we read too much. And told us we ought to go outside and play, or clean our rooms, or get a life. :)

BooksPlease said...

I certainly do - but then I used to walk from room to room and down the stairs reading and have always had my head in a book (or two, or three ...) Some one once said to me that I ought to live life, not read about it - that made me feel awful, but I can't accept that there is such a thing as reading too much.

LK said...

Great stuff. That is such a great way to score a "find"...just the happenstance.