Italo Calvino: (A Possible) Categorization of Books

Italo Calvino

In the opening pages of his book If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler Italo Calvino drops a really interesting (and possible) categorization of books. I am still digesting how I would fit certain books into these categories.

So here is the list, so you can think for yourself where you would put books you think to buy, or already have.

Books You’ve Been Planning To Read For Ages,

Books You’ve Been Hunting For Years Without Success,

Books Dealing With Something You’re Working On At The Moment,

Books You Want To Own So They’ll Be Handy Just In Case,

Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer,

Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves,

Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified,

Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered.

Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First,

Books Too Expensive Now And You’ll Wait Till They’re Remaindered,

Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback,

Books You Can Borrow From Somebody,

Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too

Books You Needn’t Read,

Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading,

Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written,

Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time To Reread,

Books You’ve Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them,

New Books Whose Author Or Subject Appeals To You,

New Books By Authors Or On Subjects Not New (for you or in general),

New Books By Authors Or On Subjects Completely Unknown (at least to you).

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