FROM DR. SEUSS TO WALLACE STEVENS
Reacting to the world news is painful. How much war, disaster, and illness can we absorb? In my search for relief I turn, of course, to books. And this time the book is one I will keep in sight, read and response selectively at the author’s advice. Ex Libris, 100+ books to read and reread by Michiko Kakutani is a gem, and my own copy will arrive shortly. It’s a 301-page list of books, alpha by author, books with deep meaning to Kakutani, who is a literary critic. But no stuffy, academic lingo gets in my way. She asks, “Why do we love books so much?” And goes on to call them “tiny time machines…” I don’t remember not being able to read, so these “magical brick-sized objects” are for me habit and solace.
A hefty little gem, hard back, this book earns its space on the coffee table or faced out on a shelf. And the inside is as colorful and lovely as the cover. Each section has a color plate by Dana Tanamachi, noted on the back cover as “the consequences of digital innovation.” But there’s the echo of tradition in the artwork as there is in the essays inside. We go from Abraham Lincoln and Oliver Sacks to Barack Obama, Mary Shelley and Donna Tartt. Just what I need this week. And thanks to the librarians at Anythink Wright Farms for introducing me to this amazing little book.