What reading does, ultimately, is keep alive the dangerous and exhilarating idea that life is not a sequence of lived moments, but a destiny.— Sven Birkerts
The most relaxing Sven Birkerts quotes you will be delighted to read
Language is the soul’s ozone layer and we thin it at our peril.
A book is solitude, privacy; it is a way of holding the self apart from the crush of the outer world.
If anything has changed about my reading over the years, it is that I value the state a book puts me in more that I value the specific contents.
Every place, once unique, itself, is strangely shot through with radiations from every other place. ‘There’ was then; ‘here’ is now.
The books that matter to me...are those that galvanize something inside me. I read books to read myself.
A poem is a construction of inner space. Language is to inner space as light is to material space.
I read books to read myself.
Poetry springs directly from our primal need and capacity for communication[Poetry] mobilizes such a concentration of devices, such an intensification of language via rhythm, syntax, image and metaphor. Reading it-the best of it-can create another, very different kind of perpetual present, an awareness that can be as ongoing in the soul as the stop-time of trauma.
Reading, because we control it, is adaptable to our needs and rhythms.
We are free to indulge our subjective associative impulse; the term I coin for this is deep reading: the slow and meditative possession of a book. We don't just read the words, we dream our lives in their vicinity. The printed page becomes a kind of wrought-iron fence we crawl through, returning, once we have wandered, to the very place we started.
To achieve deep focus nowadays is also to have struck a blow against the dissipation of self; it is to have strengthened one's essential position [in life].
I often find that a novel, even a well-written and compelling novel, can become a blur to me soon after I've finished reading it. I recollect perfectly the feeling of reading it, the mood I occupied, but I am less sure about the narrative details. It is almost as if the book were, as Wittgenstein said of his propositions, a ladder to be climbed and then discarded after it has served its purpose.
If literature survives at all, it is as retreat for those who refuse to assimilate to American mass culture.