You can read merely to pass the time, or you can read with an overt urgency, but eventually you will read against the clock.
– Harold Bloom, How to Read, and Why (2000)
So reads the final entry in a fantastic new book I got from Simon, my Persephone Secret Santa. The book, Buried in Print by Julie Rugg is a collection of “literary extracts, quotations and bon mots concerning every aspect of bookish behavior.” It is the perfect volume for bibliophiles to dip into when a spare moment pops up. One is tempted to keep it in the littlest room in the house, but I have too much respect for books to do that.
And it is fitting that I should stumble across this particular quote given my recent fascination with what I might choose to read as I sat waiting for the world to end. Those of you who who did not assiduously read my review of The Hopkins Manuscript may have missed that discussion. (If you were sitting down to your final night on earth, you had said goodbye to everyone, you knew the earth was ending, which book would you pick up to read?)
And of course, for so many of us book bloggers, so much of what we do in some way has to do with reading against the clock. We join challenges, read-a-thons, read-alongs. We create lists of things to finish. We count the number of books we read in a certain time period. We join in reading weeks (e.g., Persephone, NYRB, Virago). We always seem to have our eye on the clock and we never seem to have enough time to read.
I would be remiss in not noting the actual Persephone that young Simon, dressed as Father Christmas and acting in the guise of my Persephone Secret Santa gave me: The Mystery of Mrs Blencarrow by Mrs Oliphant. I almost bought this one when I was in London in November so I was glad to get it. And also glad to have a shorter novel of Mrs Oliphant. I have been somewhat daunted by a very thick volume of hers, the title of which escapes me at the moment. And finally happy that I had both the Mrs Oliphant and Buried in Books in my nightstand so they fall within the TBR dare between now and April 1st. (See another time related reading goal!)
Thanks Simon. Your guided tour of Washington DC awaits.