Friday, 13 January 2017

Books and My Love Affair With the Art of Learning.


My To Be Read pile is slowly but surely getting out of hand yet still I am quite incapable of resisting just one more title to complement the current canon of thought and research. I tell myself that knowledge is never wasted and one day - one day! - all will become clear and visible and relevant to my own paltry attempts to turn a phrase or illustrate a stream of consciousness worthy of lengthy consideration.

My latest fad began with Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and has led to revisiting Virginia Woolf. I'm presently fluttering between A Writer's Diary and A Room of One's Own/ The Voyage Out in an attempt to get to grips with the woman as well as her work.

And I was as happy as the proverbial... until the BBC aired To Walk Invisible. Damn their eyes and the internet for recommendations on further reading. But I won't buy, not yet because as I said I'm reading Woolf plus there's a stack of other authors vying for attention all within my line of sight. I'll be sensible and simply add The Bronte Myth to the wish list.

If you're a book lover too you invariably know where this tale of woe is leading. That this is where the dark forces of obsession begin to take over and before you know where you are you're price-checking on a daily basis knowing there's still one gift voucher left from Christmas literally burning a hole on an already overcrowded bookcase. (Let's not even get into visits to charity shops.) And obviously, The Madwoman in the Attic and The Female Malady would complement this train of thought if we're discussing the history of the female condition versus the need to be creative - which in the end is how this paper chase began.

Finish the ones you've started before accumulating more - stupid! And weren't you going to re-visit the classics beginning with Dickens, Austen, and Hardy? And what about the ones by the Bronte sisters you have never read? And War and Peace? You always said you'd read that. Don't forget to go back to Thackeray, Homer, Shakespeare, Middleton, Johnson, Pepys, Lawrence... Then, of course, there are all the contemporary novels you have stashed upstairs which you keep adding to. What are you, a hoarder? You already have your work cut out for the next few months. Oh, and Poetry! Did I mention poetry? Keep hold of that voucher for when your tastes and interest divert elsewhere. Stop looking at the We Recommend For You, page! Resist. Resist. Resist...

I reached for my Dumbledore wand pressing the point to my temple wishing, not for the first time, that I could simply utter a spell which would enable me to download, or at the very least speed-read-thoroughly, all these wonderful books and more. Books from the past, the present, and the promise of those yet to be written. I took a moment to contemplate the sheer pleasure of inhaling the scent of freshly pressed stationary before clicking Add to basket.

The thought of how many I'll never get to read fills me with unimaginable grief.


7 comments:

  1. Oh, Tracey! I want to the Dumbledore wand thing, too! I can so relate to this. There is too much to read, and too much to reread, but I guess that's the kind of problem you want to have. :) Keep on reading!

    - Jennifer

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    1. Wouldn't it be wonderful, Jen, to simply download - or do we do ourselves an injustice in thinking so? Short cuts aren't always a good idea I suppose. Some things are worth the effort and time invested.
      You must get a wand!

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  2. "The thought of how many I'll never get to read fills me with unimaginable grief."

    Virtually every day, I think to myself that there is not a chance I can read all the books I want to read. There is a shelf in my office, two books deep, of books I've purchased, or gotten as gifts, that I haven't read yet. And the shelf is 5 feet long. And, of course, the e-books I couldn't resist at a mere .99 each. Of course I can't even remember WHY I thought I'd even want to read some of those. But there must have been a redeeming review, or a quote of some sort, or I read bits and pieces about the author and simply had to check them out. I don't regret a one of them, but I do wish I'd make some progress through the ever increasing stacks of books that I keep promising myself I'll read.

    Every time I delete a BookBub or Goodreads Deal alert without looking at what's offered, I hurt just a bit at the possible lost opportunities. Ah, then. There are many worse problems to have.

    -- Wendy

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  3. Oh, damn! I wrote this lovely and poetic comment and it's gone because I had to go log in with my wordpress account and the entire comment vaporized while I was away.

    That said, my TBR is ever growing and "The thought of how many I'll never get to read fills me with unimaginable grief." states near perfectly how I feel about the near infinite number of books I want to read and re-read. I suppose there are worse fates ;)

    -Wendy

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    1. Your poetic comment wasn't lost, Wendy, it's here safe and sound and I thank you for it. You're right, there are worse problems in life to have but how wonderful it is to contemplate and ponder literary works - to even have the time or the inclination is a gift in it's self. As are the people willing to discuss these concerns. :-)

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  4. The little appreciate pain of a reader... and a writer. There are too many worlds to explore and not nearly enough time on this one to do it! Lovely post, Tracey!

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    1. Oh, to be a speed reader, Rachel but good writing deserves to be read deeply and thoroughly.
      Thank you! ;-)

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