Last quotation from Stop What You’re Doing And Read This!, promise. Well, there definitely won’t be more than one after this, anyway. Probably. Back to Mark Haddon’s wonderful essay, definitely the jewel in this crown, and more book thoughts which both strike a chord and make me think more deeply about my reading. I seem to have run out of bookish paintings very quickly, so instead here is a musical painting by one of my favourite artists: it’s Raoul Dufy’s Tribute to Mozart.
“What I didn’t yet understand was the importance of taste and timing. Books are like people. Some look deceptively attractive from a distance, some deceptively unappealing; some are easy company, some demand hard work that isn’t guaranteed to pay off. Some become friends and stay friends for life. Some change in our absence – or perhaps it’s we who change in theirs – and we meet up again only to find that we don’t get along any more, an experience that I had when I returned to both Gravity’s Rainbow and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. Unlike people, one can at least dump them or hand them to a friend without causing offence or feeling guilt. Indeed, we forget sometimes that a vital part of loving literature is hating certain books and certain writers, just as hating Spurs is an important part of supporting Arsenal; and the embarrassing truth is that I have probably got far more satisfaction out of trying to persuade friends that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a tawdry piece of misogynistic torture porn than I have out of discussing the reasons why Wolf Hall is a masterpiece.”