Sunday, November 13

On Reading What One Likes

Kafka, through Davis, on reading:
But at other times, I sit here reading in the afternoon, a myrtle in my buttonhole, and there are such beautiful passages in the book that I think I have become beautiful myself.
-from the story "Kafka Cooks Dinner," by Lydia Davis, included in the collection Varieties of Disturbance (2007).

Borges on reading:
Really, I think of myself of being essentially a reader. But, of course, as you are aware, I have ventured into writing. But I think what I have read is, of course, far more important than what I have written. For one reads what one likes, and one writes, not what one would like to write, but what one is able to write.
-from the lecture “A Poet’s Creed,” delivered by Borges while at Harvard University in 1967-68. All eight completely amazing lectures from the period are up for free at ubuweb. Since discovering them in August, via Vol. 1 Brooklyn (who, in turn, discovered them via the Twitter feed of Sasha Frere-Jones), I've listened to the lectures constantly, often before going to bed. Fittingly, almost every time I've awoken in the morning with the recollection of having had some sort of strange dream.

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