“I have been reading wildly all over the place!”
– Samuel Beckett,
Letter to Thomas MacGreevy
(25 March 1936)
Time’s Flow Stemmed is a chronological reading journal and commonplace book. A quick glance through the archives and writers that I read will give any reader an opportunity to decide whether we share reading interests, and whether the style of this blog is to his or her taste.
None of us can claim to be truly well-read these days. Some degree of filtering is essential. I do believe however there are good and bad books, and that the former are becoming fewer and fewer (it is entirely possibly this is a natural byproduct of getting older). I don’t read for pure entertainment, but to have my eyes opened to different worlds of feeling to my own (Tim Parks wrote something along these lines), or to borrow the famous Kafka quote, I try to read only the kind of books that wound or stab me in some way.
Without sympathy, intuition, intelligence, comprehension and, most difficultly, grace, I do not see how anything worth reading can truly be read. Those are the qualities I constantly aspire, and inevitably fail, to bring to what I read.
This is almost entirely a literary blog: I write about the books that I read. At the moment I post, on average, a couple of times a week. I rarely write negative reviews because I don’t finish books that fail to move me in some way.
This blog isn’t intended to be a monologue. I cannot hope to give a sufficiently generous accounting of my overwhelming debt to all those who have taken the time to comment, to clarify issues and teach me to see what they saw, or sharpened my discrimination by proposing opinions, as well as those kind enough to say nice things. This blog is an attempt at conversation so please jump in.
Please don’t ask. I’ve no interest in receiving ‘free’ books and don’t like the self-imposed pressure of receiving books from publishers or writers. I admire any writer capable of getting a book published and wish them every success.