For those who have been following these notes about writing, you know that I am in the process of moving. That, as mentioned, involves the shifting, sorting and weeding of a great number of books. Having to decide—because I must—which books to keep, and which to donate to a place that could make use of them, reminds me of an interview I heard some years ago.
An academic writer (alas, I do not recall the name) was describing his late father’s love of books. Indeed, the old man had his own library, where he kept his books, those which he particularly loved, and which he had read and reread. Late in this man’s life, he became blind, and was no longer able to read his beloved collection. His son would see him, however, in his library, putting his fingers to now this book, now that book. The old man knew them well enough to recognize the titles by touch. Thus, he would stand motionless for a long while, hands on a particular book, and reread it, as best he could, by memory.