Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Put down, but never discarded

There are books, read in youth, the content of which we still remember decades later. And there are books, of which the act of reading itself can be vividly recalled as if it were yesterday. It was July 1980. I had been travelling for three years. In the multitudinous din that was India, I was alone. Emaciated, jaded and worryingly low on funds, I arrived in the holy city of Madurai. Near the grand temple I found a room in a cheap hotel, a loveless place called Venus...

If you would like to read the rest of my article which appeared in Australia this morning, just click here.


  1. That book was important to you because of the particular time in world history you found it, but also because of your particular location/experience in the world at that moment. And even if you become richer, older and less spiritual, the magic of that distant memory never changes.

    I decided two months ago to sell every book in my library that hasn't been read in the past 10 years or more, and took 15 large crates of reference books off to an auction house. But as ruthless as I decided to be, a few books were so important at the time that I read them, I have kept them in my library.

  2. Hi Hels,
    I sometimes browse my library and play with the idea of thinning it out, but nearly every book that I have is a depository of memory. Consequently, my collection continues to grow.

  3. I love reading Hesse's works and there are books I can recall exactly where I was when I read them.