Monthly Archives: June 2019

The Books We Read

By Justin Cude

I’ve read tons of books lately. Hold on. Bear with me. I don’t say that with any type of pretentious. Its just a way to start this piece. But, seriously, lately I have read tons of books. From Self-help horrors to border-line erotica novels. From the lone pessimists attempt of optimistic existentialism to the bonding painted along a band-of-hippies psychedelic rove. Books which reign the top 100 to ones spawn from the endless graves of underground novella. I’ve read deeper into the works of authors I truly love, and have flirted with the lines of authors I’ve only just met with a glance. I sat down yesterday and read a whole damn book. I’ve only done that once in my life, years ago, and it felt wonderful to experience this again. But, this piece isn’t about the number of books I’ve read through in the last few weeks, but rather about what I have noticed, as I have before, by doing so.

The books we read influence us. Greatly or subtly, it doesn’t matter. They teach us. They touch us. They lead us and they push us. Some can hold you back. Many will move you, either which way. The ones we love, we do so for many reasons. There’s not just one reason we read and continue to. We read for many. And, we keep reading because those reasons are always further affirmed the more words we finish, the more pages we turn, the more books we try. We know why we read, individually, and our knowing of that is enough to continue forth. Every book I have ever read has provided me with at least one line of life; life learned, understood, challenged, gained, lost, made aware of, or changed. Even if only a line. I read for that one line. That one line that provides the life I needed to experience as to allow my own life the right, or the acceptance of, to just be, and for me to just be along with it. For life to be what it is, at any given moment, during any given experience of its provide. And, for me to be who I must and who I choose to be in response to and in demand of that greater providing.

I read for that one line. And, I read for this one life. Because, the books we read provide the life of others, while we’re out learning and living towards the writing and the sharing of our own. There’s wisdom there. There’s trial and error. There’s love and the exploration of its layered and endless complexities, along with it’s simplicity. There’s death and our questions. There’s wild stories from all walks of life, and there’s devout peering into the uncertainties we face. And, there’s us, reflected in the words so humanly placed. The books we read are shared closely with the lives we live. The lives we live are steeped in the richness of books we read.

So, I encourage you to read on.

Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino

How did you come across the book?

I was, uh… bookstore hopping, in the city. I just moved here. So, I was trying to find a favorite, and it was super esthetic, and um, so I decided to take a chance on it, and bought it. That’s it. I can’t tell you what bookstore it was! I don’t remember where it was.

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

Um… so, its actually a collection of short stories, so there are a lot of like varying perspectives that I’m getting from it. They’re all about like… intimacy, between people, with themselves and with other people, so. I’ve read two short stories already and its just… it kind of makes me reexamine my relationships with people and how I navigate those, and the degrees of intimacy that exists within like… within everybody, especially moving to the city… like the intimacy you have with a stranger sitting on a bench with you… that’s kind of examined in this book and that’s kind of what its making me think about.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Yeah! I definitely would. I feel like, for most of my age group, it might be a little bit, um, pretentious. I’m a first year college student, so, maybe like somebody who’s beginning to navigate serious relationships. Kind of up there with The Course of Love… I feel like it really kind of helps you understand your place in relation to other human beings, so… if you like to have existential crises, I think this book is really good! I absolute would recommend it, but I think that there’s a lot of internal reflection that it spurs, so, definitely be cognizant of that. If thats not your thing, its not your thing. It also has some kind of antiquated writing. Its very like flowery prose, so um… and its not necessary modern in a convenient sense.