Carnal Book Love

on March 14, 2008 with 0 comments » | ,

In an interesting post about the love for books and more particularly, the love of reading books, Amit Varma writes (read the entire post - I am merely excerpting couple lines here and the essence of his posit may not come out correctly taken out of context like this):

The greatest happiness, even greater than sex, is reading a good book.
...
...one does not need to expend energy seducing a book, for it is always compliant and often, if the writer is skillful enough, enthusiastic.
...
Now I am carnal, happily writing notes in the margins of books, leaving them facedown, reading them while eating and allowing my gravy-stained fingers to turn the pages, as if to leave a mark that says You are part of me now, and here, I am part of you as well.
Beautiful! Well said.

On to writing next: I just began reading the book, The Art of Hunger, which compiles essays, prefaces, and interviews by Paul Auster, who is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. In the past year, I read two of his books -- Travels in the Scriptorium and a graphic novel, City of Glass which is based on Auster's book of the same name & part of the The New York Trilogy -- and was taken in by his writing style and imagination. Auster is a prolific writer - one of those few who writes a lot but not at the risk of a weaker quality - and there is so much more of his writing that I want to carnally devour. :)

More from his book, The Art of Hunger, as I consume it in the next couple weeks.. but here is a quote from the book that I loved.

"Writing is no longer an act of free will for me, it's a matter of survival."
Coming to think about it, I could perhaps say the same about reading. I do not think I could live my life without reading ever again. Due to things going on in my life, it has been difficult to focus and read much in the last 6+ weeks, let alone write or blog, but I am glad to find myself craving today for some real good writing. Carnal love, as Amit suggests in recommending a book of essays by Anne Fadiman, can very enjoyable...and it is a carnal love for reading that consumes me today. :)
“Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader” is a beautiful book: if you love books, or are “bibliolatrous” like the Fadimans (what a charming word!), you will love every essay in it. I hope that love is carnal.


P.S. And here's something similar about writing that talks about the shapeliness, the sensuality, and the implied sexiness of putting a sentence together.

What he appreciated was the shapeliness of thought, the shapeliness of structure. He implied that there was a sensuality to the structure of the sentences and the structure of the thought. If all the sensuality is contained in the shapeliness of the grammar or the structure of the sentence then that structure has to be exactly right. The sentence has to be just right and the thought has to be just right because if it isn’t, well, it’s not as shapely.
The above excerpt is from the very end of an interview with the author Lydia Davis. I had never heard about Davis till today but read that she used to be Paul Auster's wife in the 70s and is also a writer. Being a fan of Auster's writing, I figured I'd google and check out what kind of writing Davis is known for and that lled me to the above and another interview and also couple reviews of her work.

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