Monday, 24 March 2014

Living, Thinking and Looking by Siri Hustvedt

Due to overburdened working circumstances I was "subtly" forced to abandon the reading of the rather erudite collection of essays by Siri Hustvedt "Living, Thinking and Looking", which I had started a month ago as I was reaching the "Looking" part of it, and I say "erudite" because I have had to read and reread several passages of the "Thinking" section, which would otherwise make no immediate sense as opposed to the pieces drawn from the author's life  assembled in the first thematic section "Living".

I have copied down two passages from among the many that have instantly caught my attention for future reference.

"(...) when we listen to a person tell a story, perhaps especially a person with whom we are intimate, that tale can spawn a mental image so vivid, it enters the mind as a subjective experience that originated outside the mind, not within it. The I adopts the recollection of the you. Memory, like perception, is not passive retrieval but an active and creative process that involves the imagination. We are always reinventing our pasts, but we are not doing it on purpose."

"(...) it is safe to say that reading is a particular human experience of collaboration with the words of another person, the writer, and that books are literally animated by the people who read them because reading is an embodied act."

I don't know how difficult (or easy) it will be to pick up this book again in a month's time and start reading it  as from the point where I have stopped. I don't quite like to leave things halfway through and that includes books ...

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