The weird problem with books

Here is Elizabeth Bachner at the bookslut:

There’s the same weird problem with books. There are good, or even great books that are hard to read or slow-going, and also bad, waste-of-time books that are a slog. There are brilliant books that are unputdownable, but also piece-of-shit, brain-rotting books that are unputdownable. How do we tell which is which? How do we sate our cravings without making ourselves sick? And how do we isolate those key ingredients that enhance flavor, and find them in wholesome forms?

And, the ending of her piece is great too:

Maybe I should quit the sin of complaining when things are not so bad. Unlike Goytisolo’s first readers, I have millions of books to choose from, and hundreds of thousands of them are great. I live in a world of Malls of America and grocery stores that seem to be the size of cities. With aisles and aisles of food, why do I worry about the rare fruit I may never get to taste, the salty young pecorino too fragile to ship, or tomatoes with real tomato flavor? The lost books keep haunting me, though, haunting me enough that I stop being merely self-righteous and start to scare myself by getting downright biblical. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and tear you.” Then again, who are the dogs, and who are the swine, and which are the pearls? And what about me, the furious reader, the proud reader, the lustful, greedy, envious, despairing, gluttonous reader? Where do I fit in?

A must-read piece for all bibliophiles!


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