Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

“As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.”

Ursula Le Guin

I always think that when you start to look into the interaction between you, your mind, your thoughts and a book you enter fascinating territory.

I am no literary scholar, but I do honestly believe that no two people read the same book; and that often the book we end up reading isn't the one the author wrote or at least thought they wrote. Their intentions may have been crystal clear to them, but once those words collided with my mindset, experiences, preferences and prejudices, they may have taken on a whole other meaning and begun to tell a new or revised story.

I was recently reading an unpublished novel by a family member and realised that my reading of parts of it was quite feminist and female, and that some of the thoughts and actions just didn't gel because of my perspective. I'm sure he had no intention of writing something that evoked my response, but when the two came together, his words and my experiences, that was the story I read.

The last part of this quote also holds true I think - that as we read bits get added to us, get embedded into our brains, connect with previous experiences, make links and form new experiences or associations. We come away changed slightly, somewhere in our make-up, even if only a belief or emotion is re-enforced.

This is a detail of a book we came across in the New York Centre for the Book Arts. It is by Didier Mutel/Atelier LeBlanc and is called The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1994, Ed. of 61, Loose signatures; letterpress and copper engravings, 11 x 14.9 inches.


  1. a very inspiring read, fiona. :)

    1. Thanks Louise! There is much to consider when one reads a book; how some folk get lots out of a book and other nothing. The why? fascinates me!

  2. I had not thought about reading that way, but it makes sense. Reminds of the adage that the observer influences the experiment.

    1. An interesting connection to make Leslie - and I'm sure they are both true, just operating in different spheres. I often wonder why or how we experience/enjoy books differently.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.