Seeing artist Nina Katchadourian post on this wonderful New Yorker round up of Books as Muses made me feel joyful and think about just how much I love books and love to read. I love to read via all the mediums available to us. Paper is a wonderful technology and nothing will replace it for me. I love holding books, turning the pages, noting favorite pages with a post it or a handwritten scribble in the front page.
I also love reading on my computer or my phone. My husband introduced me to Instapaper which changed my reading life. Now I often hit the “Read Later” button that I installed on my browser when I don’t have time during the day to delve into a longer article. Then I do read it later on the subway. I also am happy to have a kindle to read books during my commute or when I’m travelling. It is not aesthetically pleasing and the bookmarking option is not as satisfiying as my post its or handwritten notes, but I use both. And am happy to have several books to choose from when travelling. Also I do buy paper books, new and second hand via amazon. But I also buy books via the spectacular book shops of New York. Although I haven’t been to all those mentioned in this round up, many of my favorites are mentioned (Unnamable, St. Mark’s, Strand).
Typing this made me remember Flavorwire’s amazing posts on the most beautiful bookstores and beautiful libraries from around the world. It is good to not forget libraries in my thoughts on the love of books. And just now I found their post on bizarre libraries, which are stunning.
My wonderful book group decided to step away from New York City and meet at one of our member’s upstate home (thanks Lisa) to cool off and to have a sleep over. We had delicious eats (thanks again Lisa for the yummy pesto and more) and a great discussion of Octavia Butler‘s Lilith’s Brood.
Here’s big shout out to all these lovely women, some of whom have websites giving details about their creative and work pursuits: Lisa Delillo (artists), Dena Mermelstein (film and video editor), Allyson Smith (jewelry designer), Anne Lilly (teacher, drama gal), Caroline Gartner (writer and video producer), and Nnenna Ogwo (pianist and teacher).
My pal Drew mentioned he was going to read Isaac Asimov‘s Foundation series so I thought I’d give this seminal work of sci-fi a try. And after reading the three key books–Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation–I can highly recommend them. This recommendation is especially for those in the mood for sci-fi style writing and/or some very good twists and turns. I read later that the first book was originally a series of short stories which explains some of the repeating of key elements.
Two poetry books of Anne Carson (more here at The Poetry Foundation) have been on table for many months, looking at me. And I finally opened them and I have been thrilled. I was a little intimidated as she is very erudite and also tosses in essays. But it all flows. And if something is a bit much for the moment, I just turn the page. I can return later!
The books are Decreation and Men in the Off Hours.
One of my favorite poems at the moment is below. It is from Men in the Off Hours:
FIRST CHALDAIC ORACLE
There is something you should know.
And the right way to know it
is by cherrying of your mind.
Because if you press your mind towards it
and try to know
as you know a things,
you will not know it.
It comes out of red
with kills on both sides,
it is scrap, it is nightly,
it kings your mind.
No. Scorch is not the way
that thing you must know.
But use the hum
of your wound
and flamepit out everything
right to the edge
of that thing you should know.
The way to know it
is not by staring hard.
But keep chiselled
keep Praguing the eye
of your soul and reach–
towards that thing you should know
until you get it.
That thing you should know.
Because it is out there (orchid) outside your and, it is.
I’m just learning more about Italian creative persona extraordinaire Buno Munari! He made the favorite book of my childhood, Circus in the Mist, which I still have. Circus in the Mist uses thick vellum–a paper that is opaque–at the beginning and end to serve as the mist that we go through to enter the bright, construction paper colors of the circus in the middle. I just love it. And I recently discovered is his other children’s book, which I want to track down.
But I just bought a book on Munari’s amazing other creative practices which ran the whole gamut from three dimensional work to poetry. This book, which I can’t wait to read has the wonderful title Air Made Visible.