just like breathing

I read this beautiful post on A Piece of Monologue today. It made me think of the quality of books as tangible, factual objects. Because there is a kind of magic in books made of paper, which e-books are not (yet) to match – I’m talking about handmade scribbling and comments. I know that I can easily make notes in my i-Pad, but it will not be looking like this:

David F. Wallace's notes on Don DeLillo

David F. Wallace's notes on Borges
To me these pages are a pictures of pure beauty – the kind of beauty that comes into existence when thinking souls meet.
Reading – Internalizing

Writing – Externalizing

just like breathing

This is how new thoughts are made, this is the way our common culture develop, this is why we are all dependent on one another –

5 Comments Add yours

  1. I read some history: it is suddenly all alive, branching forwards & backwards & connected with every kind of thing that seemed entirely remote before. I seem to feel Napoleons influence on our quiet evening in the garden for instance – I think I see for a moment how our minds are all threaded together – how any live mind today is of the very same stuff of Plato’s & Euripides. It is only a continuation & development of the same thing. It is this common mind that binds the whole world together; & all the world is mind. Then I read a poem say – & the same thing is repeated. I feel as though I had grasped the central meaning of the world, & all these poets & historians & philosophers were only following out paths branching from that centre in which I stand. And then – some speck of dust gets into my machine I suppose, & the whole thing goes wrong again.
    Virginia Woolf, 1 July 1903

    1. Sigrun says:

      “She held her hands hollowed; she felt that she wanted to enclose the present moment; to make it stay; to fill it fuller and fuller, with the past, the present and the future, until it shone, whole, bright, deep with understanding.”

      Virginia Woolf, The Years

  2. Esa says:

    Your post reminded me of something I was struck by recently while reading Swann’s Way by M. Proust on my e-reader. His story has innumerable cultural references, mainly to music and artworks of the period. I did use the internet to hear the piece of music that has Swann so entranced. But I specifically wanted to mention Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, in which the painters, Freda Kahlo and Diego Rivera are major characters. Kingsolver is brilliant in her descriptive passages and brought the paintings to life, but to be able to access the works while reading it only enhanced to experience. As the technology has advanced we can now read and search on the same device, which is a boon, but I agree, there is nothing like a paper book, in your hands.

    1. Sigrun says:

      A very good point!

  3. Angela says:

    Sigrun, I could look at these books with notes all day long…..to me, this is poetry. It is the sign of an active reader and a mind at work, totally connected to the pages in his hands. Beautiful. Like you, I prefer the feel of a real book in my hands and though I know many people who have e-readers, I do not have one. I just can’t see it happening for me. The thing is that we have these written artifacts of readers and writers who have gone before us. With so much of our current thinking and interaction archived electronically and basically intangible, it will be interesting to see what future readers and writers have available to them about the ways in which we have marked our lives with words and books. Some thing tells me quite a bit will be lost.

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