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„The fallen leaves in the forest seemed to make even the
ground glow and burn with light”
— Malcolm Lowry, October Ferry to Gabriola
Translate the following What I Treasure memories into Hungarian.
Unlike some book collectors, I never buy a book that I don’t intend to read. ’Intentions’ aren’t the same as ’actions’, though and that is why I have bookshelves literally overflowing with hundreds of unread books. I read at least 100 books a year, and have done since childhood, but I probably buy at least twice that many.
Some readers feel guilty about all of the unread books cluttering up their home, but I never do. One person’s book clutter is my idea of beauty and comfort. I live surrounded by possibility. I’ll never be short of wisdom, entertainment, solace and adventure. That’s because I will never run out of books to read.
I don’t have a first-rate memory, but bizarrely, I’ve excellent recall when it comes to books: their provenance, the approximate date they came into my life, and even their location on one of my nine bookshelves. I’m not a stickler for categorisation, although I do at times alphabetise certain areas: the biography/ memoirs section for instance. At other times, I group in ’book families’: my silver-grey Persephone collection, my vintage Viragos, a rainbow of NYRB titles.
Nothing is fixed, though; and not just because I’ve moved 19 times since university. Book stacks come and go, mostly because I will suddenly decide to read to a theme.
I began 2020 with a solid plan to catch up with some of the Pulitzer Prize winning books which have been waiting patiently on my bookshelves, for years or even decades. Twelve books, one for every month of the year. I am reading with friends discovered through ’Bookstagram’ (where I’firstname.lastname@example.org) – the bookish corner of Instagram. Like my books, we’re a colourful, varied and international assortment. First up was Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (purchased at Hampstead Oxfam on a wet January Saturday in 2018), and we’ll end the year with The Known World by Edward P Jones.
I can’t decide if my books are an aide-mémoire, or more the actual stuff of memory. I also began the year determined to read Anthony Powell’s 12-part series A Dance to the Music of Time. I received it as a birthday gift in 2000; exactly 20 years later, it felt like the right time to dust it off and read it. So far, I’m still stuck on volume one; but the year’s not over yet! And, if necessary, I’m sure Powell will wait his turn on my bookish dance card. Not much is certain these days, but the chances are good that there will be another year of books.
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