Thinking back to the books I read this year, there is one I did not mention on this blog that ought to be mentioned. I did not mention it because I devoured it, I loved it, I wanted to write it, but I also wanted to keep it a secret for myself. Now that a few months have come between it and myself, I think I can safely part with that bit of personal book-love. As you’ll see from the following quote, Stoner by John Williams (1965) has something to do with book-love itself:
Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.
The “he” is William Stoner, farmer-boy turned English professor. I was uncomfortable recommending this book partly because it embraces some moral values (or lack of moral values) which I can’t embrace, but also because it struck such a personal chord that I doubted anyone else would feel as strongly as I about it. Now that I’ve given it some thought, I imagine that is the power of the book. It strikes a strong chord in many of its literature-loving readers. And it makes them think they (and William Stoner) are the only ones.