Introducing Margin's TWO-WAY MIRROR ~ a magical realist reading diary
Topic: From the editor
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Alberto Manguel read from his A Reading Diary
at the fabulous Vancouver Public Library complex. I was inspired by his project. Manguel essentially selected a book he'd already read in the past and decided to reread it again and keep a reader's diary of his responses to the text as he read each book.
In January 2005, I will offer a small reading diary addressing my own experiences rereading various works of literary magical realism in a new monthly column. I've decided to dub it TWO-WAY MIRROR to suggest the interactive way in which literature informs our lives, as well as the way we bring our lives into the literature we read.
I'm excited by the idea?I'm always trying to find ways to concentrate my reading time. A reader's diary seems like the perfect way to do this. I hope you'll enjoy the thoughts and notes and links that arise from this project. It's just one of many ways we plan to celebrate Margin
's 5th anniversary as an electronic anthology.
Below, please find the TWO-WAY MIRROR lineup for 2005. All of these titles currently reside on my home bookshelf: January
~ "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (short story from Leaf Storm and Other Stories
~ The Passion
by Jeannette Winterson (novel)March
~ The Sand Child
by Tahar Ben-Jelloun (world literature)April
~ The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett (children's literature)May
~ Don Quixote
by Miguel de Cervantes (classic novel in translation; I presently own the Norton Critical Edition edited by Diana de Armas Wilson and translated by Burton Raffel, but could easily be talked into reading the newest Edith Grossman translation instead)June
~ The Woman Who Fell From The Sky
by Joy Harjo (poetry)July
~ Seven Nights by Jorge Luis Borges
~ To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
~ James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl (children's literature)October
~ A Blessing on the Moon
by Joseph Skibell (novel)November
~ "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce (short story from Civil War Stories
~ The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde (novella)
Once TWO-WAY MIRROR goes live, subscribers
will be automatically notified of these new additions to Margin
. Those interested in responding to the diary entries will be invited to share their own thoughts through links contained within the feature.
As you begin to anticipate the coming year, you might also think about creating a diary of reread books. Consider this an experiment for the coming seasons of reading. It could make for interesting commentary in your book group, for instance, or it could be just the ticket you need for keeping up your annual reading resolution. It might also force you to read books that matter (who would reread books that didn't?).
At any rate, I don't believe any book is read the same way by any one reader the second time around. Rereading is not only about encountering the words again, but about interacting with books on a new, more personal level. The words of familiar books can become memory, emotion and intellectual experience when encountered again.
?Tamara Kaye Sellman is founding editor and publisher of Margin.