literary recipes

24 Jan

Anthony Doerr on the language of books:

Whenever we buy a book, we say we buy a “copy” of it. We buy a copy of Gravity’s Rainbow, say, and we carry our copy home. … [But] what I experience when I read Gravity’s Rainbow, or Beloved, or The Moviegoer, is not at all a “copy” of what you experience when you read the same novel. Now that the books are in our hands, in our homes, in our heads, the copies have become something much more idiosyncratic and alive.

Maybe, rather than copies, a more precise way to think about books on the shelves of a bookshop is to think of them as something closer to recipes. What one cheese souffle is a copy of the next? … All around us right now, tucked into the valleys and along the coasts, bookshops glow in the winter light. Think of them like singular, magical, and multi-dimensional recipe boxes. They wait for us to pluck out a card, to stand over the stove, to start cooking.

Read the micro-essay in its mere 700-word entirety here.

3 Responses to “literary recipes”

  1. Brian Yates January 27, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    I feel smarter reading your posts.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. PACKAGED 11.1 « read::zebra - February 5, 2011

    […] 1/24 literary recipes :: does buying a ‘copy’ of a book make sense? Anthony Doerr has the answer […]

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    […] brings new meaning to Anthony Doerr’s comments on books as recipes, which, according to GOOD, are ripe for a […]

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