What is worth reading?

What is worth reading?

A book that expands the universe, or shrinks it?

A book that hints at what we have not explored?

Or at the demarcations of what a human is and what a human cannot be?

A book that leaks blood out its corners, and pain, and gorgeous words?

A book with each word precious like a golden pin?

A book that answers, brooking no question?

A book that defies gender?

A book that defies the market?

A book that wants to seed your mind?

A book that thinks it knows your mind to seed it?

A book that is funny, just that.

A book that is cruel but honest and unflinchingly so?

A book that is trying?

A book that has failed better?

A book by a humble man?

A book by a woman who maps whole continental socio political shifts?

A book of furious ecstasy which will be read by 100 people?

A book of stolid depthless good-enough consistency which will be read by a million?

A book with a message?

A book studiously without a message?

A book too in love with language to care if there is a message, though look long enough there might be?

A book with weather inside?

A book that will love you back?


With a debt to ‘What is worth knowing?’ by Sujata Bhatt.




Filed under 2012

8 responses to “What is worth reading?

  1. nzumel

    Questions worth asking, and — for me — too beautiful and too complicated to be answered out loud, only pondered in the quiet of my mind and my heart. But that’s just me.

    Thank you for putting this out there.

  2. Helen,
    Your blog is definitely worth reading!
    And my favourite line? “A book that leaks blood out its corners, and pain, and gorgeous words?” Thanks, Michael

  3. Beautiful, worthwhile thoughts and questions you have posed.

  4. “I like a good story well told.” – Mark Twain

    I’m pretty simple in my reading tastes. I’m the kid around the campfire begging for another story. If it also has some of the lovely qualities you mentioned, so much the better. But mostly I agree with Twain.

    • Sometimes I like a story, but one of my favourite books is The Summer Book, in which nearly nothing happens, but wonderfully and humanely so. So Twain and I will have to disagree. The well-told part is what really matters to me. Story is decoration.

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