By Jeanette Winterson
January 21, 2006
From The Times
The private life of books is what happens when ordinary readerly enthusiasm gives way to silence; to talk about such books at all would involve confession. When we give such a book to a new friend or a new lover, or a child who is growing up, we are giving away part of ourselves. Books are good at keeping our secrets. Sharing certain books is like telling a secret. Often it is like telling a secret in code.If I ever fall in love again, there will be a copy of Le Petit Prince . And an Aries lover should never be tame. ;)
This can be obvious — E. M. Forster’s Maurice, for instance, was given to me as a teenager in dreadful, dreary Accrington, by someone who wanted me to know that they were on my side.
I gave Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince to someone I loved because I wanted them to understand that "you are responsible for ever for that which you tame".
Less obviously, I recently gave the Chronicles of Narnia to my godchild, not to save her from the awfulness of the movie, but because she needs to know that Aslan is not a tame lion. Make of that what you will.
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