I function only by falling in love: with. Le Guin wrote in her daybook, capturing the necessary passion that . But reading is where the parallel begins. Some of us read to write — one must first read about the fifteenth Century and microbiology and sleep research before writing about it — and some read purely for the private joy of a world enlarged. Reading is the of thought and feeling, unique atmospheres of reality, from which we free-fall into a more profound love of life. And whenever we read, we read the way we with our whole being, bringing to the book every experience we’ve ever had, every vestige of half-remembered impressions and half-survived heartbreaks, the imprint every other book we’ve ever read has left on our conscience.
From Italo Calvino (October 15, 1923–September 19, 1985) comes an uncommonly insightful, tender, and sensual celebration of this parallel between reading and love — the making of it, the falling into it — is a beautiful passage from the 1979 novel( ). From the frame narrative about a reader trying to read a book to the novel’s very title, deliberately styled like a sentence and not like a caption of capitalized words, this book is the ultimate meta-homage to reading — a book by and for the unabashed, obsessive lover of books; a book that exemplifies all of Calvino’s , but especially the fourth: “a book which with each rereading offers as much of a sense of discovery as the first reading.”
parallel between a story in literature and a love story in life, Calvino writes:
How to establish the exact moment in which a story begins? Everything has already started to before, the first line of the first page ofthat has already happened outside the book. Or else the real story is the one that begins ten or a hundred pages further on, and everything that precedes it is only a prologue. The lives of individuals of the human race form a constant plot, in which every attempt to isolate one piece of separate from the rest — for example, the meeting of two people, which will become decisive for both — must bear in mind that each of the two brings with himself a texture of events, environments, other people and that from the meeting, in turn, different stories will be derived which will break off from their familiar story.)
He considers how reading, like physical intimacy, is ana delicate osmotic balance of complete surrender and unassailable sovereignty — one of the mind, the other of the body: