MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “library”

Judges of character

© Dale Rogerson

You can tell a lot about a person from their library. What books they read. What worlds they delve into. What thoughts occupy their minds.

Like Robin Sharma said: “Ordinary people have big TVs. Extraordinary people have big libraries”.

Libraries are almost like your portrait; they reflect an image of yourself only few can see.

You can also tell a lot about a person from the pets they keep and the way they treat them. Animals are a great judge of character.

Combine the two, and you have a verdict, right there.

Happy pet and big library means special owner.

Also part of Friday Fictioneer

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Treasure troves of magic

©Ted Strutz

It’s a place of magic. There are so many different worlds to travel to. So many personalities to impersonate. Here, you could be anything, anyone, at anytime, anywhere.

Libraries, she was taught, “are more than just a storage place for books, they are treasure troves filled with creativity and knowledge. And that knowledge can be empowering(R.L Hemlock).

Libraries open windows to the world, inspire us to explore and achieve more, to contribute to improving the world, and thus change it for the better.

They are parts of life’s necessities, reminding us simultaneously of the excitement of being a kid.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Stardust

Every time she was invited into people’s homes, her gaze unconsciously went to their library. She fervently believed that a home without books was like a body without a soul. And she loved to discover where and how people had placed a library in their homes. But that wasn’t all.

It wasn’t enough to simply have a piece of furniture stacked with books.

It also depended on the quality and nature of those books; not only their content, but also their appearance. How a reader treats their books also says a lot about them as a person. Someone who appreciates their books and takes care of them, keeping them in pristine condition, is a much different character to one who breaks their spines and folds their pages.

A fun part of discovering new libraries, she found, was scanning the titles and discovering books she too read, or that were on her list to do so.

But the best memory she had of a home library was when the young man she had recently met gave her a tour of his favourite books. Rarely would someone share their virtual journeys with another like that. And the most reminiscent of all was when he took out a hardback book from the top right-hand corner of the tall living-room bookshelf, presenting it to her and saying, “You must have certainly read this one. I’m sure you know it”.

She took it in her hands as if receiving an invaluable treasure.

She read the title and gulped. The cover was filled with stars.

Oh so you’re the star!”, the young man mimicked.

It was a line that you would recognise only if you had read the book or saw the film. But you would only appreciate the worth of the book if you – a true bookworm – had read it too.

That’s how stardust is formed. Magically. From the smallest and seemingly most insignificant things.

Fine Art, Flawed Artists

books1There are times when you come across a book that you cannot put down, not because of its plot or fictional narrative, but because it is so inspiring you want to learn more. When such books are recommended by people who know you well enough to safely bet that it will enrapture you, then you are certain to read through the entire book in less than a couple of days.

Clive James’ Latest Readings is such a book.

Masterfully written it is witty, funny, absorbing, entertaining, inspiring. The flow of language is so effortless that it can be read in a gulp. There is a uniqueness in every line, blooming with such an exquisite narrative, that it makes you feel as if the author is sitting right there conversing with you.

Although an esteemed literary critic, in this specific book, James does more than simply review the books he read. He reviews a lifetime of reading books. Because he artfully combines his opinion of the book’s content, with its background epoca and its context, associating everything with current events – from the rise of ISIS, to the digitization of the written word, to Bill Cosby’s trial, even to recent TV series and movies. And all of this is combined with a telling of his own state (he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia) and the fact that he was melting away, or, like he says, “slipping into time”.

This is an illuminating book in many ways, because, although some books and writers may not be familiar to you, he will awake in you the urge to read more. He will illuminate the dream of having a large room with huge double doors opening into an entire library full of books. One that contains bookcases rising up from the ground to the ceiling, so complete that you need an incorporated sliding ladder to move across them. A library so full, that you would eventually need to smuggle books in and hide them, as he does, being under embargo for bringing in more books. And he encourages you to love books, despite the rapid conversion into the “rational solution” of a digital form, as “being book crazy is an aspect of love, and therefore scarcely rational at all”.

But he will also inspire you to become a better author in order to produce the book you dream to write. He urges you to be open to self-criticism, because “unless you can criticize yourself, you are not a writer”. He even calls out to journalists themselves, a dying craft of our times, stressing that “journalism is the first draft of formal history”.

He explores the background stories of the writers themselves, opening up details into their lives that you never knew. One of the most memorable phrases in the book is that “fine art is usually work of flawed people”, giving you hope that no matter your troubles, you can always produce something great.

His ode to Ernest Hemingway is beautiful, particularly noting that “he was a giant who dreamed of being a giant” and was an author able to deliver such a convincing narrative, such that “his way of putting things was a transformative illusion”. His closing reference to Florence Nightingale is also both touching and enlightening.

What is most astounding throughout the book is that, despite his illness, James never gives up. He doesn’t abandon his wit and sharp intellect, nor does he stop reading, expanding both his knowledge and his world. And that, is perhaps, the most inspiring aspect of it all. After all, as he so deftly states, “If you don’t know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do.

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