I was born in a book. This is not a metaphor. I was born to myself by reading. I was born to rejection, to excess, to enigmas, I was born to the incomprehensibleness of things, I was born to what is called the inner life thanks to a book. I was ten. I remember it well. The book was called "Sans Famille" (Nobody's Boy) by Hector Malot.This quarter's issue of Label France has a special dossier on Books and People and has a special feature "Words of writers" in which 10 authors reacted to the question "What place do books have in your life?"
I belong to books. All other affiliations reduce me and sut me in. All other affiliations fill me with horror. The soil, blood, race, the family fill me with horror.
I belong to books. To the books I read in my childhood. To the ones that have marked the seasons of my life. I belong to the books of Cervantes, Rabelais, Pascal, Faulkner and Bernhard. But I belong too, to the books that I haven't read and which have founded the language that I speak, its spirit, its colours, its pace.
I belong to books. When the world is noisy, books give me peace. When life no longer makes sense, books know how to laugh at it.
As there is no god to take me in, no master to guide me, no root in the soil to hold me, I fear being crushed in the immanence of things. But the uneasy voice of great books leads me towards an unknown that calls me and keeps me moving forward.
I read, I live. Life without books would be nothing but a mistake. My life without books would be inconceivable. Like an existence with no secrecy. Like day without night.
Books are my day and my night.
Read what other writers have to say (in French) at the official Label France site.
Disclaimer - I haven't translated the text. I merely copied it from the English edition I picked up at AFP..