Reading About Reading

Kids in Deere Park didn’t hang out on the street, at least not thirteen year olds, so Justine didn’t meet anyone the entire summer. This didn’t bother her. She drifted into a pleasant world of television and magazines which led, to her surprise, to reading books. Each book was an invisible tunnel leading to a phantom world that existed silently parallel to real life, into which one could vanish then emerge without anyone knowing. Hardy, Dickens, Poe, Chekov — she could barely understand the way the characters spoke, but it only made the experience more exotic, more secret, something to which no adolescent social rules applied. How had the hard-edged furniture, neon signs, and minimal hot-colored clothes evolved from the baroque book world, the complex, multilayered universe populated by people who spoke so elaborately and died of tuberculosis? It frightened her to think the world changed so quickly.

– Mary Gaitskill, Two Girls, Fat And Thin


The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — which you had thought unique and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

– Alan Bennett, from Art, Architecture and Authors Related link: Read Stuff You Don’t Understand

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