On the migration of books

This lovely opening to the Turkish Nobel laureate’s memoir of a lifetime of reading calls to mind the dialogue from C.S. Lewis’s God in the Dock, about how our libraries in heaven will likely only contain the books we’ve given away or lent. But such books they’ll be!

At the heart of my library is my father’s library. When I was seventeen or eighteen and began to devote most of my time to reading, I devoured the volumes my father kept in our sitting room as well as the ones I found in Istanbul’s bookshops. These were the days when, if I read a book from my father’s library and liked it, I would take it into my room and place it among my own books. My father, who was pleased to see his son reading, was also glad to see some of his books migrating to my library, and whenever he saw one of his old books on my bookshelf, he would tease me by saying, “Aha, I see this volume has been promoted to the upper echelons!”


from “My Turkish Library,” by Orhan Pamuk, The New York Review of Books, 18 December 2008

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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