A Message for My Books – Inspired By a Passage in Alberto Manguel’s Book Curiosity

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

There are certain books I gaze at from afar, knowing I would love to read them but knowing, too, that I probably won’t because my list is overly long and I’m becoming more and more aware of how little time there seems to be in a day. One book I know I won’t get to is Curiosity by Alberto Manguel, recently reviewed in the New York Review of Books by Robert Pogue Harrison. Mr. Harrison wasn’t altogether positive about the book (though he didn’t pan it either). Two things tempted me to override the lukewarm review and have a go at it.

One was the photo of Manguel that accompanied the article. He is sitting in his library in the southwest of France. There are floor to ceiling books, a rich-looking carpet, a hat on a hook by the door (in case he might like to take a walk at the end of a chapter), a glowing lamp, a table piled with just the right things…it’s a room I could spend hours in.

The second thing that drew me was a quote from the book itself. Manguel recalls being told that when a beekeeper dies, the bees must be told of his passing. “Since then I’ve wished,” Manguel observes, “that when I die someone will do the same for me, and tell my books that I will not come back.” I could spend time with a writer who thinks such things.

But reluctantly I pull myself back from the edge, say a silent thank you to the New York Review of Books for the quote, and open Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams.

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

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