v32#5 Marina Van Zuylen: An Author and Her Short Books

by | Dec 4, 2020 | 0 comments

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All this reminds me that I want to get back to three beautiful short books — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists, Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry, and Günther Anders, Et si je suis désespéré que voulez-vous que j’y fasse (Wenn ich verzweifelt bin, was geht’s mich an?)  All bought at the check-out counter of independent bookstores in France and the United States.  Indeed, the reason I love short books so much — there are images of some of mine below — is because of French bookstores.  When you’re at the cash register, you’re not tempted by chocolate bars or magazines.  Your eyes rest on Schopenhauer aphorisms, a short essay on the death penalty, Neruda on solitude, or Bataille on the psychological structure of fascism.  I often take one of my short books with me — to keep me company, for inspiration, and just because there is something so satisfying about them.  This reminds me that I have Hazlitt’s On the Pleasure of Hating in French translation.  I bought it precisely because it was a short book.  The French have a wonderful way of turning long essays into short books-so you have the satisfaction of finishing an essay that has all the beauty and design of a full-fledged volume.  Best of all worlds!  

Photograph courtesy of Marina van Zuylen

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