Tag Archives: Library

The More You Know the Larger the Rows of Unread Books

“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”


From: brainpickings.org/2015/03/24/umberto-eco-antilibrary/

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The Science and the Art of Arranging a Home Library

A library that is not arranged becomes disarranged…

In practice, every library is ordered starting from a combination of these modes of classification, whose relative weighting, resistance to change, obsolescence, and persistence give every library a unique personality. 

We should first of all distinguish stable classifications from provisional ones. Stable classifications are those which, in principle, you continue to respect; provisional classifications are those supposed to last only a few days, the time it takes for a book to discover, or rediscover, its definitive place. This may be a book recently acquired and not yet read, or else a book recently read that you do not quite know where to place and which you have promised yourself you will put away on the occasion of a forthcoming “great arranging,” or else a book whose reading has been interrupted and that you do not want to classify before taking it up again and finishing it, or else a book you have used constantly over a given period, or else a book you have taken down to look up a piece of information or a reference and which you have not yet put back in its place, or else a book that you cannot put back in its rightful place because it does not belong to you and you have promised several times to give it back, etc. 

More: monumenttotransformation.org/atlas-of-transformation/html/c/classification/brief-notes-on-the-art-and-manner-of-arranging-ones-books-georges-perec.html

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Books: the necessities of life

“Give us a house furnished with books rather than furniture. Or both, if you can, but books at any rate! . . . Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A house without them is like a room without windows. . . .

Let us pity the poor rich men who live barrenly in great bookless houses. And let us congratulate the poor, for in our day, books are so cheap that a man may every year add many volumes to his library for what his tobacco and beer would cost him. Among the earliest ambitions to be [fostered] in clerks, workmen, journeymen — and indeed, all that are struggling in the race of life — is that of owning, and constantly adding to, a library of good books. . . .

It is a man’s duty to have books. A [personal] library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.”

– Henry Ward Beecher

Why reading is important for children

“Even with video games, computer tablets and other digital resources, the book still remains a powerful tool to tell stories, teach facts, and share experiences.

Reading is very important to character development, to understand how stories flow … I can’t say that our kids are reading less. The amount of time given them to read has changed. They don’t spend as much time in the school library. The teachers want the kids to read, but there is a limit on the time they can devote to that.

Children from lower income homes are not going to have a library inside their home … The school and public library are the only places for them to have the opportunity to experience written stories.

While video lays out a visual story for children, reading compels them to use their imagination to create the characters, setting and situations in the story.”

More: http://m.exponent-telegram.com/article_41947942-5dff-11e2-8fa7-0019bb2963f4.html

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Love of books is like any kind of love

“Love of books is like any other kind of love,” Fadiman said. “It takes different forms.” There are “courtly lovers” of books, who treat books as sacred objects, and “carnal lovers” — those who engage with their books as physical objects, and who are more than willing to profane them in all manner of ways.

Examples of the latter camp abound. Wordsworth once cut open the pages of a new book (a necessity due to the bookbinding techniques of his time) with a butter-greased knife, according to Fadiman. William Empson was reprimanded by a librarian for returning a copy of “Dr. Faustus” smeared with jam from his morning toast. A Columbia University librarian reported a returned book with a fried egg in its pages. And as per the tale that provided the lecture’s title, New Yorker legend A.J. Liebling was said to have used a strip of bacon for a bookmark.

Harvard librarians, Fadiman reported, have found in the pages of books a sewing needle, feathers, playing cards, yarn, a parking ticket, an arrest warrant, “a piece of fuzzy pink cake that was presumed to be a former Hostess Sno Ball,” and even a used condom.

“At least those things are removable,” she conceded. “The one thing that is least removable is your own words.”

And they stay on the pages for the life of the book, so make your annotations wisely (or preferably not at all).

More: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/04/love-beyond-words/

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Government can cause you to disappear without a trace | LitBash 31

“Governments can cause you to disappear without a trace.” It will be lonely out there, so be sure to prepare yourself – collect books to help pass the time. Start with authors who were…

Born this week:

William Makepeace Thackeray, UK

“Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb.”

Ramon de Mesonero Romanos, Spain

Ferenc Mora, Hungary

Archibald Cronin, UK

Claude Aveline, France

Robert Pinget, France

Leonid Sobolev, Russia

Ernest Hemingway, USA
“God knows, people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick; camp-following eunuchs of literature.”

John Gardner, USA

Sandor Brody, Hungary

Raymond Chandler, USA
“Don’t ever write anything you don’t like yourself and if you do like it, don’t take anyone’s advice about changing it. They just don’t know.”

Alexandre Dumas, France

“It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man’s disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes. It has always been so and always will be. Governments change yet they remain all alike.”

Nikolay Chernyshevsky, Russia

Henrik Pontoppidan, Denmark

Edward Dunsany, Ireland
“I hope that when London is clean passed away and the defeated fields come back again, like an exiled people returning after a war, they may find some beautiful thing to remind them of it all; because we have loved a little that swart old city.”

Died this week:

Jane Austen, UK
“Here I am once more in this scene of dissipation and vice, and I begin already to find my morals corrupted.”

Gilberto de Melo Freyre, Brasil

Curzio Malaparte, Italy

Rene Bazin, France

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Italy

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

Witold Gombrowicz, Poland
“I thought that this auction with other nations for geniuses and heroes, for merits and cultural achievement, was really quite awkward from the point of view of propaganda tactics because with our half-French Chopin and not quite native Copernicus, we cannot compete with the Italians, French, Germans, English, or Russians. Therefore, it is exactly this approach that condemns us to inferiority.”

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Poland / USA

“A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise… Because that is how life is — full of surprises.”