Sunday, January 15, 2012

peeling axe books


Posted by Picasa Paint peeling from brickwork reveals the shadow of an animal.

 Two log stories.  And a half. Outside the pub a man appears and selects a log from the stack. He few minutes later he brings it back and replaces it. " A ball stuck up a tree," he says by way of explanation. Later, one of the pub staff arrives with an axe. "Don't worry,  " he says, as though the sight of a man with an axe might evoke a scene from a horror film. " I want to chop a log up to make some kindling. Customers are complaining that it is getting cold". The word "blog", I have always supposed, is derived from the phrase "web log".  Another log then.

 While talking the other day about the difference between reading a book or on an eReader, I am reminded of a passage in Albert Camus' unfinished, largely autobiographical novel, The First Man. Describing his discovery of books as a child in a lending library in Algiers, Camus writes. I translate loosely:  "Each book, moreover, had a particular scent derived from the paper on which it was printed, a scent, refined and secret, that J would have been able to distinguish  with his eyes closed ... And each of these scents before he had even begun to read,  overwhelmed him and drew him into another universe full of promise, obscuring the room where he was, the quarter in which he lived, the town and the entire world...."

3 comments:

Lucy said...

Captain's log!

Lucy said...

Oops, wrong post.

I'm quite intrigued by the e-reader experience; in a way it's a purer way of escaping into that other universe, since it's much less concrete and embedded in the world around.

I can't bring myself to pay for anything on it yet though, it just seems too insubstantial to hand over any money for!

I think it has a long way to go yet, and we'll look at our funny old Kindles in few years time and see them as very primitive and basic.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

I notice you make no comment on the Camus quote. Perhaps because, like me, the further one reads the greater one's sense of disbelief. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to believe it, only to appreciate its fineness (a noun overused by HJ and one which has effectively erected an impenetrable barrier between him and Mrs LdP.) Some things are just too literary. In fact this might well qualify for that ill-defined word at the far end of the critic's spectrum - a conceit.