The power of books – camouflage in the waterways

 

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I’ve always suspected the protective power of books, the sense of sanctuary in a library or bookshop, and the calm that descends when reading. In his novel, Steven Hall describes the  intriguing premise that all human minds are linked by vast ‘streams’ of language and thought, and, swimming through these streams, are thought-fish. Not all fish are good, and from the most predatory of all, the Ludovician, we need protection or camouflage:

Books of Fact/Books of Fiction:  Books of fact provide solid channels of information in many directions.  Library books are best because they also link the book itself to every previous reader and any applications of the text.  Fiction books also generate illusionary flows of people and events and things that have never been or maybe have only half-been from a certain point of view.  The result is a labyrinth of glass and mirrors which can trap an unwary fish for a great deal of time.  I have an old note written by me before I got so vague which says that some of the great and most complicated stories like the Thousand and One Nights are very old protection puzzles, or even idea nets by which ancient peoples would fish for and catch the smaller conceptual fish.  I don’t know if this is true or not.  Build the books into a small wall around yourself.  My notes say three or five books high is best.’

The Raw Shark Texts

There have been times there is no denying, when the only thing to do, would be to come home to my favourite books, stack them up around me, and find peace enough to relax knowing that I was safe in my book tower. Now I know, they only have to be three or five books high…

tower

 

 

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