“The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed,” writes Rebecca Solnit in The Faraway Nearby. As Solnit observes, it’s true that a book is just an inert object on a shelf that takes on a new life when opened: “A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.” This is part of a complete episode.

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  1. C.S. Lewis wrote something similar in his book, An Experiment in Criticism. He wrote that “Books on a shelf are only potential literature.”