[lit-ideas] Re: Off Base

  • From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 23:32:31 -0400

Simon: I take it you've read 'The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony'.

No I haven't read Roberto Calasso yet. I did take it from the library last year, but didn't get to it before it was overdue. (Right now I'm on vacation in the countryside, and books are harder to get here. Interlibrary loan did net me Taylor's _Sources of the Self_ yesterday, after a long wait--a first edition hardback that feels as though it's been visited by many readers. So if I want to try Calasso's mythic magnum opus, it will take me weeks to get it.)

Do you believe in "book destiny"? I'm not sure if there's a better term for it. Let me try to explain "book destiny."

A friend tells you about book X. It sounds interesting but doesn't fit with what you're reading at the moment. Weeks later you read an essay that mentions book X favorably en passant. Have to read that some time, you think. Weeks after that, you are walking down Saint Marks and see book X in the bargain shelf outside East Village Books, marked down to $2.50. You buy it and take it home, where it sits on a pile of unread books for months. It's never quite the book you want to read...not quite yet. You pack up your books and move, unpack them, and put book X on a new shelf in a new apartment. No, not yet. Life goes through its motions and one day you take book X down and start it. You read 200 pages in a sitting. It's perfect! You can't read anything else until you finish it. You wonder why you didn't read book X earlier--such a great book, and it was there, all this time, waiting for you to read it.

The book was waiting for you to become its reader. It called to you and prepared you to read it, and patiently waited for you to become its reader--to accept the destiny of being the book's reader. And when the student was ready, the teacher appeared. Book destiny.

To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: