Infinity in a Reed by Irene Vallejo it’s the perfect read for all of us who love books. I had it on my list for months, but I wanted to give it my full attention and read it calmly so I put it off for the summer holidays.
Among the pages of this book we will find Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies, the library of Alexandria is an important part of history.
We will witness the cruel murder of Hypatia, which will leave us horrified.
It teaches us how The Iliad and The Odyssey could reach our days or how Roman women were forbidden to write books and make them public.
We will attend the birth of the first bookstores or we will know the story of the brave Kentucky librarians who on horseback ventured ‘every day up the slippery slopes and ravines of the Appalachian Mountains with saddlebags loaded with books‘ to bring them closer to the most isolated populations back in the 1930s.
This is a book, of more than 400 pages, about the history of books.
But above all, it is a tribute to the people who, over time, have made it possible.
There is also room for the readers, ordinary people whose names are not recorded in history and who are the real protagonists of this essay.
In this wonderful journey, we will follow a chronological order, which the author will sometimes skip to incorporate autobiographical notes or reflections between the past and the future, which instead of breaking the rhythm of the work, it will activate our thinking by making us feel identified or posing questions to ponder.
At first, thinking about reading an essay did not appeal to me very much, but everything I heard about it was wonderful and it has not disappointed me. It is read with the same avidity as an adventure novel, it captures you from the first pages and when you get to the end, you want to start over.
I did well to leave it for the holidays, because the time between its pages was passing me without realizing it, it was very difficult for me to have to leave it to carry out other activities.
Books do not usually appear in this blog, except for the photos that I have sometimes dedicated to them. But this time it seemed to me that more than a book it is a treasure and, as such, I have thought about sharing it.
Irene Vallejo (Zaragoza, 1979) has become one of the literary sensations in recent years. She is a classicist, novelist and journalist. She has a PhD degree in classical philosophy from the universities of Zaragoza and Florence.
With this work, the author managed to be the fifth woman to win the Spanish National Essay award in 2020, in addition to receiving excellent comments. Among the compliments, the words of Mario Vargas Llosa stand out:
‘Very well written, with really admirable pages; the love of books and reading are the atmosphere in which the pages of this masterpiece pass. I have the absolute certainty that it will continue to be read when its readers of now are already in the afterlife‘.
‘Infinity in a reed’ publishing houses: Siruela (Spain) Bompiani (Italy), Bertrand Editora (Portugal), Les Belles Lettres (France), Grupa Wydawnicza Sonia Draga (Poland), Laguna (Serbia), Meulenhoff (The Netherlands), Diogenes Verlag (Germany).
I think it is also translated into Finnish and Danish but I couldn’t find its editorials.