You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, “No, I don’t want to watch TV!” Raise your voice–they won’t hear you otherwise–“I’m reading! I don’t want to be disturbed!” Maybe they haven’t heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: “I’m beginning to read Italo Calvino’s new novel!” Or if you prefer, don’t say anything; just hope they’ll leave you alone.
The opening chapter of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is a fantastic paean to book lust. Read it immediately if you have ever felt the gravitational pull of a used book store, if an empty bookshelf evokes a nervous itch at the center of your being, or if the prospect of opening a new text makes you giddy with Christmas morning-esque excitement. If not, read it anyways, and you’ll understand why I eagerly spend hours poring through stacks of pages and the uncomfortable anxiety that comes from the unread.