All the books I’ve never told you about

I thought about this post today as I stood in a local charity bookshop and gazed upon the shelves. I’ve done this a lot in my life; I know the shapes of bookshops, their feel, their patterns, and I love them. I love the way titles are grouped together, the slim multitudes of the picture books and the way they’re stared down by the stately hardbacks up above. I love the way the Brent-Dyer’s and the Brazil’s and the Oxenham’s lurk somewhere a little closer to the desk, wrapped in their plastic wrappes, gleamingly smug in their collectability.

And I thought that, for somebody who talks a lot about books, there are so many books out there that I haven’t told you about. That’s so fascinating to me; this idea of a writer who writes about books and yet – doesn’t. It’s the truth though; for every book I share here, there are a multitude that don’t get their time in the bloggish sun.

A little of this thought process inevitably touches upon my PhD research and the ideas of Franco Moretti and distant reading, but I think here, maybe, in this moment, it touches upon the idea of selfishness.

It touches upon love.

(Sometimes, the worst of our emotions and the best of them, they are so close. Love is hate and hate is love and fear is hope and terror is laughter and everything is everything else, all at once, all along).

I met somebody once who knew that I liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He told me, almost instantly, his five favourite episodes and asked me mine and I did not know what to say. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t share this love of mine with him because –

I didn’t want to.

Buffy was the show that taught me about fear and darkness and love and family and writing. God, how it taught me about writing. But I didn’t really want to talk about it.

I think I loved it too much. I don’t think I wanted to share it with people.

I don’t think I knew how.

(How to talk about the great loves? How to bring something so perfect, so transcendent, so – mindblowing – to words? To the fixed, precision of words?)

And so, as I stood there in the bookshop, and I stared at Misty of Chiconteague and I thought of A Taste of Chlorine and I caught sight of a pile of Unwritten comics, I thought –

there is so much here  –

so much.

And I thought –

that even the silent, furious –

unspeakable –

passions will make themselves known –

And I wrote this.

It is not an ending. But – rather –

a beginning.

 

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