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Reading and Connecting, or Not

August 23, 2011

When a friend loves a book and lends it, gives it or explicitly recommends it to us, reading it is an intimate act. We get a privileged glimpse at something that reflects or has shaped the usually veiled inner life of someone we love.

When a friend loves a book and we know this obliquely and decide on our own to read it, reading it feels dangerous, almost invasive. Were we meant to know these secrets, to see these connections? Must we remain silent on these revelations? The text is then like the writing on the back of a postcard, neither hidden nor public, something from which we should avert our eyes but do not.

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