On the train south from Paris this evening, I have the impression that more people than usual are reading books. An Armistead Maupin, a book on Francis I. For my part I’m sorting out photos from the summer. I’ve come across these remarks from two great travellers:
‘Where a man’s Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is, there shall his heart be also’; and, of course, Lemprière, Fowler, Brewer, Liddell and Scott, Dr Smith, Harrap and Larousse and a battery of atlases, bibles, concordances, Loeb classics, Pléiade editions, Oxford Companions and Cambridge histories; anthologies and books on painting, sculpture, architecture, birds, beasts, fishes trees and stars; for if one is settling in the wilds, a dozen reference shelves is the minimum; and they must be near the dinner table where arguments spring up which have to be settled then or never. This being so, two roles for the chief room in a still unbuilt house were clear from the start. (Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1986)
I actually buy my books in paperback, so that I can leave them without remorse on the platform, for someone else to find. I don’t collect anything. (Olga Tokarczuk, Flights, 2007)
I took the photos on a hot August Sunday in Milan, heading home by train.