Several friends have invited me to discuss books on GoodReads.com. I tried, but my reading doesn’t fit there. On Good Reads, you shelve all of your books as “read,” “currently reading,” or “to read.” You may create other shelves, but you may not delete any of these three shelves. And your books may be on no more than one of these three shelves.
Books I have read weren’t worth reading.
My books whisper to me like Jesus: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”
I like dictionaries. Nobody says, “Have you read this?”
What am I reading? I suppose my most important read is a book I have long forgotten. In a way, I am still reading it.
Czeslaw Milosz calls to me from my upstairs bookcase: “Your writing is no longer honest. I can help you.”
The books I am currently reading are my remaining books and the trees and publishers they came from and the clouds that rained on them all. I don’t keep books I’m not currently reading. My wife thinks my books are taking over the house.
I have no intention of reading any particular book. It is too stressful to make such a commitment. So my “to read” shelf is empty, too.
My books whisper to me like Jesus: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
I can’t separate my devotional book from my classroom reading-time book from my early-evening magazines from my nighttime poetry volume from my longer summer reading. How can I write about a book?
I read only reference books anymore.
Czeslaw, may I start with the one-sentence paragraphs and just pretend to be honest?
I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. There is no first reading to get through because there is no plot. So it’s an easy read.
I have read, am reading, and will read New and Collected Poems 1831 – 2001 by Milosz; viz., I have read, am reading, and will read pages 268-270, 271, 269-270, 269 and 269, 269, 585-588, 269, or 741-743 of that book. Some of the pages I have read twenty times. Most of the pages I have never read. I will never read them all. So I have and have not read New and Collected Poems.
The previous paragraph is my shelf title for New and Collected Poems on Good Reads. I’ll have one shelf per book, at that rate. Oh, never mind: Good Reads shelf titles may contain no more than twenty-five characters.
Milosz calls from the other room: “I have and have not read you, Peter.”
My faith teaches me to read reference books. In the book of Esther, King Ahasuerus’s chronicles save the Jews. Why does no one play the chronicles in our Purimshpil?
Aubrey/Maturin novels don’t have plots. Well, sometimes they do, and the plots are awful. But the novels are no worse for them.
Milosz calls from the table: “I can teach you something about growing old.”
I have never read the pages of a reference book in numerical order.
Chuang Tzu says, “Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.”
All books are reference books.
Milosz calls from my wife’s side of the bed: “I can help you stop being such a smart-ass.”
Abbot Hor says, “Take care that you never bring into this cell the words of another.”
Milosz calls from the downstairs bookcase: “So you do like plot.”
Posted June 1, 2009.