Posts Tagged ‘Charles Portis’

Loving a book

I read this beautiful passage by Donna Tartt (author of ‘The Secret History’). This passage was part of her introduction to the book ‘True Grit’ by Charles Portis, which was made into a movie recently and was in the news because this movie was nominated for the Oscars this year.


It’s a commonplace to say that we ‘love’ a book, but when we say it, we really mean all sorts of things. Sometimes we mean only that we have read a book and enjoyed it; sometimes we mean that a book was important to us in our youth, though we haven’t picked it up in years; sometimes what we ‘love’ is an impressionistic idea glimpsed from afar (Combray…madeleines…Tante Leonie…) as opposed to the experience of wallowing and plowing through an actual text, and all too often people claim to love books they haven’t read at all. Then there are the books we love so much that we read them every year or two, and know passages of them by heart; that cheer us when we are sick or sad and never fail to amuse us when we take them up at random; that we press on all our friends and acquaintances; and to which we return again and again with undimmed enthusiasm over the course of a lifetime. I think it goes without saying that most books that engage readers on this very high level are masterpieces; and this is why I believe that True Grit by Charles Portis is a masterpiece.


– From the introduction by Donna Tartt to ‘True Grit’ by Charles Portis

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