Posted by: Yorgos | February 29, 2008

Text 4 – On Reading

I tend to read more books than one at the same time and rarely are they both fiction or both theory books. Usually it’s one of each. Sometimes they are not even relevant to one another. I could be reading War and Peace and a book of essays by Jameson. In this way, reading interchangeably, one book can be time off from the other, so I can do more reading. However, this doesn’t happen very often, since I always have a very generous schedule for my reading and I tend to stick with it. I know people who can handle four books at once and people who can barely keep up with the one they are reading. But this is not why I started this post.

What I do want to say here, though, is that, it seems, that no matter how irrelevant the two books may seem, I always manage to find connections and common themes between them, as with books I have just read. I don’t know why this happens. Maybe it is because I am looking for them, I end up finding them. Or, it is maybe because there is a certain path in my reading (this is undeniable) and no matter how far apart the two books are, they are still links of the same chain.

The third reason I can think of (and the one I find more aesthetically pleasing to my notion of literature) is what so many dear writers have said in the past: There is nothing that hasn’t been said already, nothing that hasn’t been written, all books are but one and the same, almost archetypal, book. To say the same thing from the opposite perspective: each book contains all the other books, each book is many books at the same time and each reading produces an ever newer book. This can stand even for theory books, for a good theoretical text is, in its own right, good literature.

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