Monday, June 30, 2008

In Conclusion

I finally let myself finish reading Ex Libris while I was in Colorado. I talked to Lisa about this on Friday, but I had an interesting experience with this book.

I find that when I'm truly enjoying a book I have one of two reactions. One, as with books like Ender's Game, consists of me racing through without stopping because I can't seem to make myself stop. This used to happen frequently...pretty much whenever I got sucked in to a book. In the recent past, however, I have come to experience the second reaction which is what happened with Ex Libris. I'd get going and suddenly have a realization of how fast the pages were going by and how few remained, and I'd stop. I'd sit quietly for a few minutes or even just seconds and then begin reading again. I'd also consciously slow down as I was reading so that I could enjoy it longer. By the end I actually avoided reading at times because I knew I only had a couple essays left. Because it was a book about books, I was especially aware of what I was doing. It was fascinating.

Now that I've finished, I'm sad it's over, but I'm excited that I have made it back to the world of reading for fun (it's been way too long).


On a tangentially related note, I have one last quote from the book to discuss:

"...I realized that books get their value from the way they coexist with the other books a person owns, and that when they lose that context, they lose their meaning" (Fadiman).

This part from the final essay really resonated with me. I feel exactly the same way about my book collection, and I have never been able to adequately put it to words. I have always loved my books as a collection--how they relate to each other or not, how they look next to each other, how the entire collection is somehow different with the addition of a single new book. When I've tried to explain this to people in the past I've come across as materialistic and vaguely obsessed. ;) (Don't you wish you had Fadiman's way with words?)

I really like the idea that a person's books and how they "coexist" have a very individual meaning. No two people have the exact same collection of books. I also like the way my collection represents me. From the cheesy teen lit to the overwhelming presence of Orson Scott Card. From the books that were obviously assigned by teachers to the many that have been recommended to me by Lisa ;). Some books have changed my outlook on life and others I haven't even read yet.


Anyway, I very much enjoyed our first selection for our little book club. Peter- Lisa and I decided that you should pick our next book. We have to rotate who picks so that Lisa can read books she hasn't read before. We discussed the possibility of reading books none of us have read before. The worry is that we'll get stuck reading an awful book...but we can always ditch it if we all agree. I need more time to find a book for us (Lisa has been my go-to for recommendations for quite some time now), so yeah, your turn! :)

Also, are we adding anyone to our club? It's fun as just three of us, but it would also be fun to have more contributors, n'est-ce pas?


Lisa said...

Yay! I'm glad you both liked Ex Libris so much. :-) I'm excited to see what Peter picks next . . .

Petey said...

Ex Libris was very good; i don't read many reflections on reading, so it was interesting to really focus on my own habits and practices when it comes to books - particularly how they've integrated, influenced, and shaped my outlook to the world around me.

Ah fun.

So, I'm picking next, eh? I have a couple of ideas, although one is rather unique so... I'm not sure if I ought to suggest it or not. At least, not yet.

Give me a day or two and I'll let you know for sure what's next.

Lisa said...

Oooh, good, I need a plane book for when I go down to visit a friend in Albuquerque.

I keep threatening Jennie that I'm going to have us read a doorstopper fantasy novel with graphic S&M scenes. 0:-)