THE GIVING OF BOOKS

A message from N. Scott Momaday:
Dear Nicole,The book is a clear mirror of the man. It is beautiful and moving. Gus and I made a legendary journey to Rainy Mountain in the hard weather that shapes mind and memory. It was a quest, a journey eminently worth making.With deepest thanks.Scott


         The Living Batch bookstore in Albuquerque, New Mexico was a haven in the desert southhwest for poets, writers, readers, photographers and artists from 1970-1997.

By Patricia A. Nelson, manager of the Living Batch Bookstore
(this lovely piece was incorrectly attributed to Writings of Gus)
  ( an excerpt from a holiday edition of the Living Batch NEWS)
…In giving books, we proffer a deep solicitude. We focus our attention on the solitude of another in an intimate speculation which yields a quaintly formal gift. Our gift is full of our generous pride in how well we’ve ‘read’ another: how we’ve discerned their taste; pondered a confidence; thoughtfully packages our advice, praise, criticism; celebrated a kindred spirit or tried sweetly to please an alien one.
We try to give ourselves objectified in another’s words. Bookgiving is a discrete form of self exposure. We often think we should sprinkle little trail markers through important books we give away. ‘Right here! Read this! My soul is bared!’ Alas, we can give the book but not our unique reading of it.
Every new reader gives a book a new reading. The exclamatory babble of happy booktalk is an exchange, a mutual enthusiasm mediated by books.  We suppose our giftbooks are meant to spark such talk. Perhaps we give essays we found full of glad affinity or a marvelous gnashing of teeth. Or a cookbook, our own copy spattered & stained with the preparation of happy communal feasts. Or a simple sing-song storybook that read our children to sleep night after reliable night. We might articulate a turning point in our understanding, pass on a spiritual guidepost, replay the thrill of ideas once startled awake by words which did not lead us gently but urged us hotly in pursuit.
We are, of course famous for giving books to all save one soulless obligatory nod who once responded peevishly, ‘Please! No more books, I already got one last year.’ We’re sending him socks.

One thought on “THE GIVING OF BOOKS

  1. A message from N. Scott Momaday:
    Dear Nicole,

    The book is a clear mirror of the man. It is beautiful and moving. Gus and I made a legendary journey to Rainy Mountain in the hard weather that shapes mind and memory. It was a quest, a journey eminently worth making.

    With deepest thanks.

    Scott

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s