Sunday, January 2, 2011

Prosecuted, Banished, and Shot

Now, the question is, how am I supposed to get more reading done if I keep going to bookstores all the time? My son, who, like me, is about to finish Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, actually brought this up a few weeks ago in one of our many email exchanges. Of course, he’s as addicted to books as I am — which is exactly why we’re going to Powell’s Books a little later this morning. Despite the abundance of reading material we have close at hand, we both agree that we don’t have nearly enough books.

[click to enlarge]

I purchased these two volumes at the very end of the year. Montaigne, in fact, arrived at my doorstep on December 31, as chipper as ever despite his 500 years. Huck Finn — I haven’t read about his adventures since I was twelve or thirteen — about the same time I first thought about running away from home. Yes, yes, I know he’s evil, I know the book has been banned, and that Mark Twain should be prosecuted, banished, and shot. I also know that the rest of us should receive the same punishment for some of the stupid thoughts we think, all the more so because we are convinced of their keen originality — when the plain truth is, there is more to be gleaned from the sound of someone sawing wood.

Michel de Montaigne: The Complete Works
Essays, Travel Journal, Letters
Translated by Donald M. Frame
Introduction by Stuart Hampshire

Everyman’s Library
Alfred A. Knopf (2003)

1,336 pages

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain

The only authoritative edition based on the complete original manuscript with all of the original illustrations.

125 anniversary edition expanded with updated notes and references and a selection of original documents — letters, advertisements, playbills — some never before published, from Mark Twain’s “book tour” to promote its original publication.

University of California Press (2010)

561 pages

In the Forum: what orange sounds like.


Gerry Boyd said...

Well, you came back home to Belfast
So you could be with the slike
And you lived a life of quiet desperation on the side

Going to the shipyard in the morning on your bike

"Well, the spark was gone but you carried on
Well, you did just the best that you could
You sent for us one time but everything fell through
But you still kept on choppin' wood

Kept on choppin' wood
Kept on choppin' wood"

Art by JFM said...

William a true "bibliophile" can never have to many books as you, your son, and I know.
By the way...I still have, collect and read my "Nancy Drew" mysteries :)
Have a great time at the book store!!!

Woman in a Window said...

There is a reverance in bookstores, a holiness, whisperings from beyond. I pause to listen, lay my fingers to spines as though they are chalices, open my mouth for wine.

I feel waves rise in me. I feel waves as though they are great clouds of weeping. It is rather a silly sight.

I do not attend bookstores every Sunday, but rather am the renegade who shows up late, stands in the back at Christmas, steals the pew of the honourable, and makes off with the greatest pilferage. For me, it seems, that is just how it is done.

my heartfelt best to you in the new year, william.


William Michaelian said...

Dear Mr. Morrison,
Thank you for reading my blog.

(Instrumental, sax & harmonica)

We will, Jan. Back when they were little, we used to take the kids to the library every three weeks. The checkout limit at the time was fifty books per library card, so we brought home bags and bags of books. The day for their return was always a process that involved a forklift, and we all wore hard hats as we loaded them into a truck in the driveway.

(I think I might be exaggerating, but you know what I mean.)

William Michaelian said...

Erin, from thousands of miles away, your message rings clear. Someday, if you haven’t already, I hope you and Robert will come West and visit Powell’s. It’s as you describe and more — the “more” being you. As is the day, and the people and objects in it.

Conrad DiDiodato said...

Montaigne is delightful, William.

The form is as fresh today as in his own day.

William Michaelian said...

Definitely. I did already have a volume of his essays, translated by Charles Cotton and selected and illustrated by Salvador Dali — a lovely book published in 1947 and very enjoyable in the little portions I’ve read. I do plan to spend a lot more time with him now that this larger volume has arrived.

Stickup Artist said...

We must all have our holy places, our shrines, alters, and artifacts. We are human. What a lovely passion to have passed down to your son and share with him. I hope the new year sends you many more wonderful new books and good times.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Stickup Artist. We’re off to a pretty nice start. We just returned with twenty-seven old books, seventeen his, the other ten mine. Speaking of holy places, I feel the same way about barns, forests, bare vineyards in winter, and countless other places. That’s one thing that draws me to your photographs.