"I’ve always felt an obligation to keep any book with which I’ve had some sort of relationship, even if it was an insignificant one—an assignment for a short review, for instance. Over time, these bad and mediocre books began to stand on my shelves as reproaches—Was I fair? Did I do the book justice? Whom did I hurt?—and I was glad to send them off. But I kept most else, especially if I’d scribbled in it. My annotations—“!!” or “Hahah” or “Bleh”—are asinine, but I’m fond of them. Analyses can be recooked, but these grunts fossilize an initial reaction—how I responded to Notes from Underground at eighteen (“Meh”) and then three formative years later (“WAH”)."
Another from Francesa Mari in Paris Review – Shelf-Conscious, Francesca Mari. My book club’s next pick is The Great Gatsby; can’t wait to compare my 14-year-old (high school), 19-year-old (college), and current selves reactions.
Of course, if you’re weeding out your collection, please consider donating to Housing Works.
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