Some years ago, when I had just finished reading The Elementary Particles, a friend of mine who hadn’t slept much for two weeks because of a flu, told me she had read about a dozen books and wondered how many books she could have read if she hadn’t smoked so much dope all her life. I have read many books and I often wonder how much I could have lived if I hadn’t read so much. In fact reading and work in general have often been an escape, or rather a substitute for what I wanted to do but couldn’t or didn’t dare to. I enjoyed almost all the books I’ve read, it has greatly enriched my life, but what life I often wonder? And in the end what does all the knowledge I have acquired through years of study buy me?
As in Mrs Dalloway the prose in The Hours is extremely beautiful. Michael Cunningham writes with such love and tenderness that I sometimes just had to stop and let the sentences resonate in my mind.
Life A User's Manual is a book for readers, and the more you have read the more you will appreciate the subtle references to other novels and popular culture. But to say so would do unjustice to a book that is quite simply a marvel to read.
Nightwood by Djuna Barnes is one of the few books I’ve read more than once.
Mrs Dalloway is one of my favorite books by Virginia Woolf, but To the Lighthouse and Between the Acts are equally brilliant.