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The alternatives are not placid servitude on the one hand and revolt against servitude on the other. There is a third way, chosen by thousands and millions of people every day. It is the way of quietism, of willed obscurity, of inner emigration.

J.M. Coetzee


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I've been reading Call it Sleep by Henry Roth for a little while now, and enjoying it. This is a book which I bought many years ago (either at Yesterday's Books in Modesto, CA, or at the used book store on Market St. in Potsdam, NY) meaning to read right away, and has been sitting balefully on my shelf ever since... I think a good essay topic would be the difference in experience between reading a book you have just acquired (and shades of such experience depending on the source -- bookstore, yard sale, second-hand shop, found...) versus a book that has been on your shelf for a long time pleading to be read. Lord knows I have enough of the latter sort to keep me occupied for a while.

As I was turning the pages in the middle of Part III, The Coal, I ran across a bookmark from some previous reader. It is a piece of tan paper about 2 1/2" square, on which has been scribbled, "He's having a nervous breakdown".

posted morning of March 22nd, 2005: Respond
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