There is something enigmatic about bookstores and libraries. Surrounded by all the books in the world, one feels overwhelmed and either invigorated that he can read or crushed by his obvious ignorance.
I am not sure how many books the average Joe and Jane read in their lives, but whatever the number is, it can’t even near the titles even a small bookstore carries. Some actually stack a beautiful home library based colour patterns and writing styles, never opening any of them…
Umberto Eco once said that it is the unread books in one’s library that count. I tend to agree with him. There is so much to learn about the world, the writer’s voice, creativity and expression, and even how not to write a book. One can easily get lost in all the books in the world and never finish them all.
I remember how I felt when I read The Catcher in the Rye, La Peste, One Hundred Years of Solitude or Invisible Cities. All of them I devoured in different periods of my life touching me in different ways and shaping my views not only about writing but also about how one can say a lot with little or thousand words.
Books translated in English, French, Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic… All of them fluid and changing from their original script and sometimes even better than the first version. Great books that will never be translated, just because a few know about them or there is not a qualified interpreter.
I’m again at my favourite bookstore, my temple. I look around and I see all this knowledge stacked in almost perfect order. Mesmerised, I don’t really know where to begin. Do I want to work on my Spanish? Do I want to check the latest guide on Chile, New Zealand or Namibia? How about me picking up a collection of Gordon Parks’ photography body of work? I could be here forever… or at least until closing time.
I so wish I could read all the books in the world. At least the good ones.
Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer
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