So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid

Translated by Natasha Wimmer

After reading Simon’s post on the wonderful book of essay about books by Anne Fadiman called Ex Libris yesterday, I  spotted this little book about books lurking in my TBR.  Zaid is Mexican, (I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by a Mexican before). His 2004 collection of articles/short essays mainly concern the business of books – Why are there so many?, How do booksellers choose their stock?, Is the book dead?, What are book’s natural audiences?  All these and many other questions are considered.

Near the front I came across a marvellous quotation from the Spanish philosopher Jose Gaos:

Every private library is a reading plan.

How true.  Zaid also goes on to briefly look at the financial flip side of owning to many books, but we’ll, erm, skate over that!

This was a diverting book to dip into, but unlike Fadiman’s people-centered bookish essays, Zaid’s little volume was rather dry in comparison.  At one point he says, “Books can be skimmed”,  and he’s quite right as that’s what I did.

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