The House Of Paper

One day in the spring of 1998, Bluma Lennon bought a secondhand copy of Emily Dickinson’s poems in a bookshop in Soho, and as she reached the second poem on the first street corner, she was knocked down by a car.

Books change people’s destinies. Some have read The Tiger of Malaysia and become professors of literature at remote universities. Demian converted tens of thousands of young men to Eastern philosophy, Hemingway made sportsmen of them, Alexandre Dumas complicated the lives of thousands of women, quite a few of whom were saved from suicide by cookbooks. Bluma was their victim.

But not the only one. An elderly professor of classical languages, Leonard Wood, was left paralyzed after being struck on the head by five volumes of the Encyclopedia Britainnica that fell from a shelf in his library; my friend Richard broke his leg when he tried to reach William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, which was so awkwardly placed he fell off his stepladder. Another of my friends in Buenos Aires caught TB in the basement of a public archive, and I even knew a dog from Chile that died of indigestion from swallowing the pages of The brothers Karamazov one afternoon when rage got the better of him.

Whenever my grandmother saw me reading in bed, she would say: “Stop that, books are dangerous.” For many years I thought she was simply ignorant, but the passage of time has shown just how sensible my German grandmother was.

– Carlos María Domínguez


One response to “The House Of Paper

  1. mycountryepoque

    When I was young as far as i could remember as 6 years old I started reading by myself. When I reached teenage-hood, I was a book head. I even hid myself in the bathroom pretending I am going to have a bath only to read so I don’t do chores my mum asked me to do. I was a silly teenager lol. I couldn’t live without books, and I was good at anything English in my class. I read the whole of Enid Blyton group of books you could ever know. Until I was 25 years old, I became a mother to be, gave birth and I lost the reading senses because my reading habit got trapped between my profession and motherhood. But well I have read books occasionally since then. Now that my girl is grown up and spreading her wings, she no longer needs full time mum, I find times at night to read a book, even a few pages. I am now a worried mum because my daughter has become a book head too and she read a book in less than 24 hours. I am trying hard to make her try and stay away from only reading too much like that. I am trying to do some activities outside the home when she is free to keep her away from books for a bit. And Plus one day I was reading from one of my favorite author “Maeve Binchy,” I put down my book and went to get a drink, my dog torn pages from the book. After then I realised it was passed her time to go for her dog walk, she got angry, thinking mummy was not giving her some love LOL – I love your post, it was very interesting.

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