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“Reading is first and foremost non-reading. Even in the case of the most passionate lifelong readers, the act of picking up and opening a book masks the countergesture that occurs at the same time: the involuntary act of not picking up and not opening all the other books in the universe.”

Pierre Bayard


Unread books, I thank you. You sit there on the shelf and look at me with your lonely spines . . . you push me to be a more informed, richer, emotionally intelligent person. Some of you have been with me for thirty years. That doesn’t mean I will ever read you, Gravity’s Rainbow. And though I respect you Ulysses, I’m content with Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Though I have read pages of Ulysses, here and there. I call that “trying.” I’m satisfied with what I know about Harold Bloom. No, wait. It’s Leopold, not Harold. I know about his Irish day and his wife Molly and his perambulations. I did read all of Proust, I swear to God I did. Except maybe I didn’t finish the third volume. I can’t remember. The point is, I want to read it. And that’s what matters.

valley of the dolls. yes.
all the king’s men. no.
fathers and sons. yes.
rabbit is rich. no.
huckleberry finn. yes.
the satanic verses. no.

There’s time. And then there isn’t.