“Many books are read but some books are lived”

Just a quick post to pass along a link to a wonderful essay that appeared recently in The New Republic. Leon Wieseltier’s “Voluminous” is a smart, evocative reflection on the meaning of books and a personal library that is Benjamin-esque in its effect. Here are a couple of excerpts.  Do click through to read the rest. I trust you will find it worth your time.

“Many books are read but some books are lived, so that words and ideas lose their ethereality and become experiences, turning points in an insufficiently clarified existence, and thereby acquire the almost mystical (but also fallible) intimacy of memory.”


“My books are not dead weight, they are live weight—matter infused by spirit, every one of them, even the silliest. They do not block the horizon; they draw it. They free me from the prison of contemporaneity: one should not live only in one’s own time. A wall of books is a wall of windows.”

This is one of those pieces that resonates deeply with me for how well it puts words to my own sensibilities (even if I might not strike quite so adversarial a tone toward digital media). I hope you’ll enjoy.

Many thanks to the reader who took the time to email me the link!

One thought on ““Many books are read but some books are lived”

  1. Check out Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy – they are definitely books that take you on a roller coaster! You feel for each character, and actually embody their perceptions of events.

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