Thursday, January 3
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"You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I do not want to watch TV!" Raise your voice - they will not hear you otherwise - "I'm reading! I do not want to be disturbed!" Maybe they have not heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, do not say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone.
Find the most comfortable position: seated, stretched out, curled up, or lying flat. Flat on your back, on your side, on your stomach. In an easy chair, on the sofa, in the rocker, the deck chair, on the hassock. In the hammock, if you have a hammock. On top of your bed, of course, or in the bed. You can even stand on your hands, head down, in the yoga position. With the book upside down, naturally.
Of course, the ideal position for reading is something you can never find. In the old days they used to read standing up, at a lectern. People were accustomed to staying on their feet, without moving. They rested like that when they were tired of horseback riding. Nobody ever thought of reading on horseback: and yet now the idea of sitting in the saddle, the book propped against the horse's mane, or maybe tied to the horse's ear with a special harness, seems attractive to you. With your feet in the stirrups, you should feel quite comfortable for reading; having your feet up is the first condition for enjoying a read.
Well, what are you waiting for? Stretch your legs, go ahead and put your feet on a cushion, on two cushions, on the arms of the sofa, on the wings of the chair, on the coffee table, on the desk, on the piano, on the globe. Take your shoes off first. If you want to, put your feet up; if not, put them back. Now don't just stand there with your shoes in one hand and the book in the other."
 - Italo Calvino
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler









  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov