Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My Library

"My library is an archive of my longings”

~ Attributed to Susan Sontag

It's supposed to be something that Susan Sontag wrote in her journal, and it's the kind of thing that makes me take a long hard look at my library and wonder how true this statement is for myself.

All these unread books. Why?

What does it say that I have a huge collection of travel writings to places I may never get to see? What does it say of me that I have all these books on dead civilisations?

Just a note: a posthumously released collection of Susan Sontag's works is now available: At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches. Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.


Anonymous said...

I like that quote. I tend to read a lot of historical fiction, especially set in victorian times, and I have a lot of mysteries too. I swear I don't want to wear dresses with bustles nor find any dead bodies :)

darkorpheus said...

haha! but maybe there is a part in everyone that wants to be the heroine, and who also wants to be the detective that saves the day.

I know I do. That's why I have all these sword and sorcery novels piled up in dusty piles.

Carl V. Anderson said...

What a fantastic quote! And so true. I know looking at my library: largely science fiction, fantasy, and classical literature, it definitely represents my longings. Some longings are to visit places I've never seen: England, Ireland, Italy. Science fiction represents longings I have had since my earliest remembrance of looking up at the stars and wondering what was out there and would I ever find out. Both fantasy and classical literature represent jamais vu: nostalgia for a time you've never experienced. Regardless of whether that past really existed or not I am certainly romantic about the 'real' past and those imagined in a world where knights slew dragons and the gods walked the earth.

Books truly are a gateway in so many ways. It may sound trite and cliche, but books take me on journeys, on travels, emotionally, spiritually, and as physically as is possible when lost in the pages.

So glad you shared that quote, it really is fantastic.

darkorpheus said...

Carl, I know what you mean about science fiction and fantasy and our longings.

Looking back, it seems as I grow more cynical down the years, I read less of fantasy and science fiction.

Which is one of the reason I'm slowly picking up the genre again. I want to rediscover a part of myself I thought I lost when I was a lot younger and more a dreamer.

One of my promised reads this year are the Fritz Leiber "Tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" novels. And perhaps the Robert Howard Conan series - it's something I used to share with my brother when we were growing up. Time to revisit them.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Good choices to get back into the genre. Glad you're doing this, I hate to see the sometimes harsh realities of life interfere with one's sense of wonder and awe. There is still an amazing amount of beauty and 'magic' left to discover, through art, literature, music, film...and simply by looking up at the stars or taking a walk through the woods.

And now that my corny pontificating is done, I will bid you adieu! ;)