Thursday, July 21, 2011

the devouring of the book

It feels like the most natural thing to blog about books. An obsessive reader from a very young age, I was once caught with "Penguin Island" by Anatole France. It probably messed up my mind, but I am only grateful. The son of a Paris book dealer with his satire of our incurably sick world surely understood the symbolic value of consumption of ideas or "commerce of thinking" to use the title of a very inspiring book by a French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. It is not only a book on books, which is already great- I am thinking about Borges the writer and librarian, whose advice to read less but on different things I am trying to follow today, but also a book that can shake up your universe to the core. (?!) : " the bookstore the Idea intends precisely that the consumption of the merchandise- the devouring of the book-remain inseparable from a penetration into its intimacy, and that it be conducted in such a way that the gesture comes back to the gesture that gave birth to the book." This projectedness of the book , although an integral and complete entity, makes it rather a process than an object, finite in its infineteness like a Moebius strip, with its inside turned outside and the very soul re-invented in every reading. Even if you convert its function into decorating your book-shelf or whatever , somebody can still open it, because it is never really closed. A topology of soul.

Jean-Luc Nancy, On the Commerse of Thinking
Of Books and Bookstores
Translated by David Wills
Fordham University Press
New York 2009

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