Every book has an empirical soul…


Every book has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” —from ‘The Shadow Of The Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Below is a section from my ongoing review of WHITE SPINES by Nicholas Royle as published by a white spine SALT.

I admired the author’s making an exception of a hardback in a collection of paperbacks not because it had ‘Vertebrates’ in its title but because of its loose ‘chance’ “inclusions.” Including a pressed flower. Also felt empathy with the reference to “Pale Fire” by VN, as I think my real-time review of that book is one of those possibly most in tune with the spirit (so far) of ‘White Spines’.
This book has not necessarily created a new literary form of Tarot, but some sort of religion, that I shall call C of E — viz. Catholic (small c) of Eclectic. Involving itemised, even dated, Tiger Garden dreams, and very personal details of this author’s life, and, yes, a fearless faith in fiction, as well as, possibly, the Passion of the reading moment that I have been extolling for yonks. Involving all books I choose to buy and read and review, not only the books that are, as its says here somewhere, “in good nick.” (Small n.)
The endented ‘concrete poetry’, meanwhile, that this author found in one book reminds me tangentially of my often finding meaningful rationalisations in my reviews for seemingly accidental typos, as well as for chance stains or, yes, other ‘inclusions.’ Found-art that also works for me in photography.
Then onto books lent out and never returned, a new basis for freehold / leasehold ownership of what a book officially or unofficially contains as well as simply what it is.

The full context is here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/07/15/white-spines-by-nicholas-royle/

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One thought on “Every book has an empirical soul…

  1. Of course, I continue to ‘enjoy’ (as this word is explicitly defined within these pages themselves) the reading journey through this book, in the way that I have already described this enjoyment above in my review, and, indeed, this book honestly gets even better and better as it amasses more anecdotes and tangential wisdoms about people, books, what is written and included in books as a parallel with what its official and original, often unreliable narrator recounts within it, what is appended to books, favourite bookshops etc. compellingly weaving, for me, the Royle journey through his personal life (I shall no doubt talk about the other Nicholas Royle later in this review) but what else can I say? — only my own personal tangential thoughts, such as why do all the books (even so-called valuable limited richly bound editions) that I gestalt real-time review bear my scribbled marginalia (as assistance to this process) IN PENCIL? Why don’t I do all my notes in ink, in the presumptuous hope that such permanence will increase the books’ value after I am dead? These questions I relate to Royle’s fascinating anecdote about a particular book’s inner redaction of a word and my own relating these thoughts to a book that I reviewed recently that contains a story by Royle, but these redactions are not about his story at all…
    4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A Merleau-Ponty sounding like a tourist sight 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A phenomenology of cemeteries 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A needing a man 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A lifting corpses before they are dead 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A we’ll never have 4E7DA204-37CA-45B4-AEB6-E09038A2FA8A.
    and how these redactions differ from the act of striking out that you intend to remove words that you still expect to be read. Ex-Words to match the Ex-Files that I await mention of in this book or confirmation that such have already been airbrushed. Whited out.

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