small meaningful things

Proust on seeing ourselves in books

This quote re-surfaced on facebook’s “on this day” a while ago, and I thought I should note it down here so it can have a permanent place in my learning library. Hopefully at some point I’ll design a better way to resurface memorable learnings for myself apart from the rudimentary “on this day” function.

Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.

Source: Time Regained by Marcel Proust | link

In recent times I’ve fallen behind on my reading. I think partially it is because of pandemic fatigue and partially I’ve kinda saturated many of the “recommended” books in my areas of interest so I’ll have to dig deeper and wider to find good enough reads. I like reading books which compel me to pick it up again and again, but lately I have found myself getting bored with most of the books I’m reading. The last book I really liked was Becky Chambers’ “A Psalm for the Wild-Built”, I tend to not go back to the same author because I feel like I should read in a wider range, but maybe I should just exhaust all her books.

But the above quote by Proust reminded me that I must have reading as part of my routine again, so I can continue to get to know myself better. I am also reminded that it is usually when reading that I get provoked to think more – versus watching tv, for example.

I’ve also fallen behind with writing notes here. It does take work still, and I keep getting plagued by the feeling of “what is the point”. But fundamentally I think writing and contributing to our websites – there is an invisible compound effect that is taking place which isn’t obvious until much later after the fact.

I mean, the fact that I even rediscovered this Proust quote was because I bothered to post it on social media in the first place. And why does it matter? Because sometimes I tend to lose myself, and such quotes tend to put me back at where I wish to belong.

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