Monday, May 24, 2010

books (an essay in progress)

I'm not sure where this is going. I'm not sure where I want it to go. But it must go somewhere. So I'm looking to my best readers to tell me, of all things, why we read. And, of course, buy books. (Note: This is a video essay, which is why it's sparse on the concrete, physical details you all crave.)

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on books

When I moved to Chicago, I brought five books with me. Maybe it was seven. Maybe ten. Maybe I shouldn’t count the books about Chicago I brought to Chicago.

Two days after I moved to Chicago, I bought two books—sequels to the book I had read on the plane. The same book I read again the first night in Chicago.

I bought books for class.

I bought books that I already owned in Utah. Books that I didn’t feel comfortable without. One book that I never owned, but checked out from the library at least twice a year. Books that were strictly guilty pleasure reading.

Maybe every book is a guilty pleasure.

Thin volumes of poetry. More substantial anthologies, all of them with the same poets, the same poems.

The three books by Anne Carson that I bought at a reading, and one I had brought from home. When I asked her to sign all four, she wrote “For Sarah, respectfully,” four times. She never looked at me.

The biography of Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee I bought at a store where they sell books by the pound.

Three copies of The Great Gatsby. I’m not overly fond of The Great Gatsby, except for a single line:

9 comments:

Jim/Blog said...

that is a serious cliff-hanger of an ending

Alexis said...

Books by the pound?

Awesome.

Amanda Mae said...

I have the same problem. My books are like rabbits - they keep multiplying!

Lekili said...

Wow. A new post! Love it. Are we going to see pictures too? And how can reading be a guilty pleasure? I think that description goes along with things like consuming entire packages of McVities or a pound of dark chocolate in one sitting.

Marie said...

The cliff-hanger ending is worse than any Lost cliff-hanger.

jaclemens said...

Buying/collecting books is like keeping a journal or a scrapbook; it helps you remember who you are in a tactile way. It's your library, the library of you.

Anna B said...

i'm also loving the books by the pound concept.

i buy certain books to give them a good home. i almost always buy a book when i'm in the airport. tradition. pleasure. also, i totally agree with the whole being uncomfortable without certain books around.

Haleyknitz said...

single line.....GAH what is it?

haha nice. i love books too! i do the same thing.

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