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Our Own Ideal Library

August 11, 2012

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All that can be done is for each of us to invent our own ideal library of our classics; and I would say that one half of it would consist of books we have read and that have meant something for us and the other half of books which we intend to read and which we suppose might mean something to us. We should also leave a section of empty spaces for surprises and chance discoveries.

-Italo Calvino, Why Read the Classics?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2012 11:16 am

    Exactly right! This is just about what my home library is like, with perhaps a bit more emphasis on the ones I have yet to read. But I like that- knowing there are books there just waiting for me.

  2. August 12, 2012 10:23 pm

    I’m with Nan, my home library is like this too. Not quite half the books I own, I’ve read… I need to know I have unread books waiting for me too.

    ..I love the quote, Eva. It’s perfect.

  3. August 13, 2012 10:19 am

    I like it! Other than the open spaces, which I guess exist in theory if not in reality, I’m pretty much following that. Although I would imagine less than half of the books are ones I have actually read. There are far more ‘to read’ books on the shelf.

    Interestingly I was just thinking last night about selling some books that I’ve read but don’t have that “mean something to me” in order to make room for more of the really special books that I want to keep.

  4. August 14, 2012 6:17 am

    Nice! :-)

  5. August 16, 2012 3:48 am

    Lovely! I actually picked up a copy of this the other day, but decided to leave it in the shop until I’d read If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller.

  6. August 17, 2012 1:49 am

    I love this, Eva! Exactly how I feel about it :)

  7. August 22, 2012 12:43 pm

    This sounds about like my home library, too. Love the picture and quote.

  8. August 22, 2012 2:13 pm

    I love this quotation, although I do not really tend to keep my books once I have read them (unless they are super-special in some way)… And I really like the idea of keeping some space on the shelves for things to come… (not that I have any space in real life on the shelves – but mentally, yes)…

    Good one.

  9. August 28, 2012 10:33 am

    I love the recommendation of leaving empty room! That’s where I currently have issues :)

  10. September 2, 2012 3:37 am

    That is a perfect, perfect description of my own library! Thanks for sharing, Eva! (Incidentally, I just posted something Calvino as well.)

  11. boardinginmyforties permalink
    September 8, 2012 5:21 pm

    I like the idea of leaving empty spaces for surprises in a library.

  12. September 16, 2012 3:23 pm

    I’m the same — getting rid of some of the books I’ve read that don’t mean something really special to make that space for the new discoveries & surprises :)

  13. September 18, 2012 12:58 pm

    Weirdly, I just read that essay last night. Beautiful quote and beautiful picture – Calvino is wonderful!

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