the first page

The first page defines whether you will like or dislike a book. If that first page doesn’t touch you, then don’t bother to read further.

Never turn a first page, unless it really captures you.

And some first pages turn your world upside down, like this one :



This is a love story. It’s about the good old days, when men were men and women were women and books were books, with glued or even sewn bindings, cloth or paper covers, with beautiful or not-so-beautiful jackets and a musty, dusty, wonderfull smell; when books furnished many a room, and their contents, the magic words, their poetry and prose, were liquor, perfume, sex, and glory to their devotees. These loyal readers were never many but they were always engaged, always audible and visible, alive to the romance of reading. Perhaps they still exist underground somewhere, hidden fanatics of the cult of the printed word.

For these happy few, literature was life, and the slowly burning pages on which it took shape were the medium of their cult. Books were revered, cherished, hoarded, collected, given, and sometimes borrowed, though seldom returned. The rarity of an item – the number of copies in an edition, the beauty and complexity of its printing, occasionally the quality of its content – determined its value. Once in a great while, a book was deemed to be worth millions. Works that bore the signature of their authors were objects of veneration, displayed under lock and key in the inner sancta of great libraries and museums. Writers – in those days, only a few assumed the mantle of authorship, a demanding and even dangerous vocation – were the high priests of this religion, shunned and held in suspicion by the unwashed but idolized by the initiated faithful.

Jonathan Galassi, “Muse”, Vintage Books, 2015

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