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Simon T

Just to let you know I've tagged you in a meme! Have a go if you think it looks fun, and let me know if you do... enjoy!
Info. here:

Simon T

Oh, and this essay sounds wonderful, I must try and track down a copy. I love the Sevres comment, and the idea of finding a book in the market - I love serendipitously finding and loving books I'd never look at in a bookshop.
But I disagree with his comment about writers - I think they're more likely to be people who love other books, and want to add one to their number - rather than supplant all the books in existence!


Simon--That looks like a fun meme, so I'll save it for later in the week. The essay is from the collection edited by Philip Lopate--"The Art of the Personal Essay". I sort of wish he had talked a little bit about the sorts of books he had in his collection as I'm really curious now--probably lots of esoteric stuff. I think some of his comments were tongue in cheek. I read the essay through twice (once yesterday and again today as I was writing my post) and I saw the humor come through the second time around. But that was a funny/odd remark, wasn't it.


> "Writers are really people who
> write books not because they are
> poor, but because they are
> dissatisfied with the books
> which they could buy but do not
> like."

Samuel R. Delaney, the SF writer, once said, "There are books I want to read, but no one has written them yet. So I have to write them myself." The Benjamin quote reminded me of that.


Memorable post, Danielle, on what sounds like a marvelous essay! Hearing how Benjamin died makes his relationship with books all the more poignant, of course.


Wow - I have only ever read Benjamin's criticism and it is HARD. So I never felt that warm towards him. This sounds like a delightful essay and something I should read to improve my opinion of him!


This sounds like a great essay! Your project is off to a very good start :)


This is totally unrelated to your post but I did want to let you know that I just picked up Troubling Love and The Art of Keeping Secrets from the library , based on your recommendations. Am already 100 pages into The Art of Keeping Secrets and loving it!!


The Art of the Personal Essay is one of my all time favorites! My favorite is probably Maria Edgerton's, but I also love Lamb's essays...and Sei Shonagon's about "hateful things".


Hi, I just read through your post. I believe I have read the essay 'Unpacking my Library' in A Passion for Books : A Book Lover's Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books.
It was beautiful and it actually moved me. You must read this collection - it does have a lot of great essays and is a great comfort to bibliophiles


I've never read this essay (or heard of the writer) but it sounds so good - thanks for such a detailed review!

And I too, love the quote about not reading all of the books in his library. People (mainly non-readers) always seem so surprised when they ask that of me and find out that I haven't read even half of them.

Dorothy W.

I'm glad you liked the essay! I think I've read that one, but it was a long time ago (probably college), and I don't remember it well. I'll have to take another look at it! I liked his comment about his unread books -- it makes me feel better about all of mine!


LindaY--That quote does sound like him! It seemed familiar when I read it. I wonder who said it first.
Richard--I hope all the essays I read are as good. It was sad that he was separated from his library, which he was so obviously fond of, and wasn't able to make it to safety. Too many tragic stories from that period.
Litlove--I'm not surprised his criticism is hard--from what Lopate had to say about him in the little biographical sketch. He sounded pretty formidable. This is a nice view of him, though, he seems a delightful man indeed with his books.
Stefanie--One down, and many more to go. It's a little harder than short stories, but I think that's just because it's all new to me!
Vipula--The books are almost polar opposites, but I hope you like them both. I loved the Eva Rice book--a totally charming read!! I will have to look for that other collection, which you mentioned. I like that it's all about books.
Jenclair--There seem to be lots of good ones. Thanks for sharing your favorites as I am never sure which one to pick. I will look for those next weekend!
Lesley--I hadn't heard of him either, but the topic caught my eye. I knew I couldn't miss if it was about books! I wish I could say I've read all my books, but really the idea is that it's a library and I pick and choose as the mood hits me and can return to it again and again! :)
Dorothy--I have a feeling most of these are going to be familiar to you, so you're going to have to let me know what you think. I do plan on seeing what other essay collections I have and choosing from them as well. I think he must sometimes just appreciated the book on its own merits and didn't feel the need to read it as soon as he had it. I feel better, too, about not having read all my books!

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