things of little relevance

books as friends
March 12, 2009, 12:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Sunday Book Review surveyed writers on their literary dining companions.

I’ve always admired people who pulled off eating alone. There’s a certain romance surrounding the (wo)man sipping his wine leisurely while awaiting his main course in a bustling restaurant. Eating alone necessitates a certain degree of self-confidence—I don’t have to eat alone, I choose to eat alone. I am not there yet. A book is just a good companion as any.

Last spring when I used to intern, I ate quite a few dinners alone—this is not a call for sympathy—because I would often be too tired to make it back up to Mo-Hi on an empty stomach. I am a very delicate girl/I actually have low blood sugar. I dined in the company of the greats; alongside Rousseau, George Eliot, Sartre, Phillip Roth (though I suppose this one is more feasible than the others), Hegel (digestion did not go so well that night, he’s a bit abstruse), and other authors on my syllabuses.

For Petrarch, he figures his books as friends, coupling that idea with the Senecan metaphor of reading as consumption, no wonder books make great dining companions. Proof that Renaissance humanism can/should be applied to most events in my life.


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