Friday, April 18, 2008

picture-making, clear spaces, read or reread

A burst of enthusiasm for pictures and patterns on surfaces, stained, scratched, cracked, peeling and crumbling, results in this morning's batch of photographs. This afternoon, as a result of seeing what I have uploaded on to the computer, I keep spotting more subjects, which I have not noticed before. The more you look the more you see. I suppose it goes on, deeper and deeper, as you begin to investigate molecular structures or sub-atomic particles hurtling towards one another at CERN.

How I enjoy having table and desk space clear! When, as a magazine editor, I had an office, my desk was always stacked with stuff; the more I cleared, the more stuff accumulated. The idea of a paperless office with everything on a wafer-thin screen remains a dream, but at least now I can have a desk and table top more or less permanently clear for action. The uncluttered surface in itself makes me feel happy.

My friend, Barrett Bonden, who is contemplating the challenge of bloggery raises the question of whether 't is better to read books for the first time or reread books which qualify as masterpieces. It makes me think, this one. I tend to agree with my friend Anna, who says that she reads for pleasure, and where pleasure leads her, there she reads. This for me means a mixture of new reading and rereading, but the emphasis is on duty-free. What do others think?


Roderick Robinson said...

To elaborate as briefly as possible. Re-reading masterpieces offers two benefits: it absolves the reader from arriving at a critical judgement and it turns old(er) age into a virtue. After reading Proust in a fit of uneducated bravado I was left with two or three brillliant actors on an otherwise empty stage. Second time around, a decade or more later, I was able to agree with the person who said: “Remember, it’s a comedy”. Third time, who knows? Ulysses, like a Christmas cake baked in autumn, turned out to have more raisins, more nuts and more candied peel. I’ll continue to read new stuff out of curiosity. But – yes, I know it’s cowardly but it’s also germane – I could be wasting my time.

Unknown said...

In my reading list (not written, but floating in my head)Proust (for the third time) is near the top. Last time, the second time, I read passages in French to qualify the Kilmartin translation which was my main text. Next time my main text will be the French. Some years ago a neighbour gave me A La Recherche ... in the Biblioteque de la Pleiade three volume edition. It is this that I will make use of. When she gave it to me she said that her late husband, who was English, found it easier to read in French than in English.
The greatest benefit in rereading, it seems to me, is to pick up aspects of a book, that you missed the first time through lack of the awarenes and the maturity that that intervening years will have brought you.

Loren said...

I spent most of the first five years of my retirement reading books that I'd bought as long ago as college but had never found the time to read.

Now that I've gotten through most of those, I'm finding much pleasure in re-readings some of my favorites and rediscovering why they were my favorites.

Of course, old and new books seem to lead invariably to other new books, especially when you're blogging and readers suggest connections.