Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Books We Pack

We pick up a lot of cues on compatibility from cultural currency. Yankees fans, Dead Heads, foodies--we learn from all these symbolic appellations, for better or worse.

In discussing the concept of libraries with the fine folks at Observatory (link at end), and then packing my own ad hoc library of books, I went through a laundry cycle of emotions as I handled the books people have given or recommended to me.
Imagine, a taxonomy of these cues.

Think of the Wodehouse collection.
Would I have ever read Maugham were it not for him?
How many double-takes have you gotten from Blood Meridian?
How many reference books were gifts? And all from the same person?
I will never read that conspiracy theory on 9-11 gifted by the Frenchman,
nor will I ever forget being read Possession in bed by the American.
How strange that two totally unrelated and wildly different people should recommend Flann O'Brien. One because he loved him and the other because she didn't,
but thought I would.
Pattern Recognition, a bible to so many.
Airport paperbacks, trash to so few.
Instead of lending my cues, I tell everyone:
take it.

5 comments:

Kung Fu Pimp said...

"Pattern Recognition, a bible to so many."

Indeed.

Anonymous said...

was I the one who recommended 3rd policeman?

get my text from the chip shop the other day? email me!

Dan said...

hey, do you know this? i think it resonates

http://books.google.com/books?id=q7ynmOJcNdoC&pg=PA486&dq=benjamin+unpacking+my+library&hl=en&ei=8FQjTISFMsyGkAWu8Zku&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=benjamin%20unpacking%20my%20library&f=false

ill iterate said...

Dan, I forget about Benjamin sometimes but yeah. This totally resonates.

Ching Jui Young said...

hi, i happened across your blog from YOMYOMF, and i love your posts. poetry (right?) at its finest.