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Archive for the ‘Archive Raid’ Category

Archive Raid

"Arthur Fontaine reading in his salon, 1904" by Édouard Vuillard

Old or new, the only sign I always try to rid my books of (usually with little success) is the price-sticker that malignant booksellers attach to the backs.  These evil white scabs rip off with difficulty, leaving leprous wounds and traces of slime to which adhere the dust and fluff of ages, making me wish for a special gummy hell to which the inventor of these stickers would be condemned.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

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Archive Raid

Graduate students argue the question of Mr Knightley’s sex appeal as if he had made them a proposition.  Gossip, like novels, is a way of turning life into story.  Good gossip approximates art; criticism of novels is mostly gossip. 
Becoming a Heroine: Reading About Women in Novels by Rachel M. Brownstein

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Archive Raid

Readers know that there are books for reading after lovemaking and books for waiting in the airport lounge, books for the breakfast table and books for the bathroom, books for sleepless nights at home and books for sleepless days in the hospital.  No one, not even the best of readers, can fully explain why certain books are right for certain occasions and why others are not.  In some ineffable way, like human beings, occasions and books mysteriously agree or clash with one another. 
A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel

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Archive Raid

A special relationship is formed with books that have been on our shelves for years without being read.  They become known in a strange way, perhaps because we have read a lot about them, or they are books that are part of our overall heritage.  I think I know a lot about Don Quixote.  I do know a lot about Don Quixote.  I have just never read it.  I doubt if I ever will.  But I know what people mean when they talk about tilting at windmills; I recognize a drawing of Quixote and Sancho Panza.  I believe Cervantes to be a great European writer.  Why do I believe that?  What possible grounds have I for believing it?  Other people’s opinions, the fact that it has an honourable and permanent place in the canon?  So Don Quixote has an honourable, permanent place on my shelves.  It would be wrong to get rid of it, and, besides, I should miss its red leather binding.

Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

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Archive Raid

Books make us climb higher, and I always have my hand on a book, as if on a banister.

What Is Stephen Harper Reading? by Yann Martel

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Archive Raid

There are books I have not read which I know I will love; and I’ll be amazed and distressed when I do get round to them that I did not allow them to enrich my life years ago.

Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

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Archive Raid

Vézillon, deux jeunes filles assises sur un mur by Henri Lebasque

For years I made a crude distinction between emotional, sloppyminded people (female) who read love stories for emtional reasons, and the rational sorts like me.  Not only were the novels I and the others read very different, I grandly supposed; the natures of our appetites for novels were, too.  In the process of defining my self through fictitious women, I imagined that what I chose to read, the reasons for the choices, and whatever lay behind the reasons were as different from most girls’ as Austen was different from Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Eyre.  The image of the passionate heroine suits girls who feel they are better than others because they are kinder and more sensitive and maybe even crazier, because of private characteristics that cannot be tested for.  I was good at tests; my heroine was Elizabeth Bennet.

Becoming a Heroine: Reading About Women in Novels by Rachel M. Brownstein

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Archive Raid

Dorothy Reading by Mischa Askenazy

Young women like to read about heroines in fiction so as to rehearse possible lives and to imagine a woman’s life as important – because they want to be attractive and powerful and significant, someone whose life is worth writing about, whose world revolves around her and makes being the way she is make sense.  The reader can see a heroine of a novel and be her, too, as she wishes she could simultaneously be and critically see herself.

Becoming a Heroine: Reading About Women in Novels by Rachel M. Brownstein

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Archive Raid

La perezosa by Daniel Hernández Morillo

As any reader knows, a printed page creates its own reading space, its own physical landscape in which the texture of the paper, the colour of the ink, the view of the whole ensemble acquire in the reader’s hands specific meanings that lend tone and context to the words.  (Columbia University’s librarian Patricia Battin, a fierce advocate for the micro-filming of books, disagreed with this notion. ‘The value,’ she wrote, ‘in intelligent terms, of the proximity of the book to the user has never been satisfactorily established.’  There speaks a dolt, someone utterly insensitive, in intellectual or any other terms, to the experience of reading.)
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel (p. 74-75)

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Archive Raid

Reading in Bed by Hermann Fenner-Behmer

I worry sometimes that it’s shallow to want to read about your own life and your own world all the time, but there’s always something pleasing and comforting about coming across a character or a situation you think you already know; it’s a validation of your experience.
So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson

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