Between the leaves

Well, this is happening.

The name “quote unquote” comes from a book I’ve been reading, “Explaining Hitler” by Ron Rosenbaum. The author is interviewing George Steiner about his obsession with Adolf Hitler (he wrote a novel about it) and he keeps quoting Steiner as saying “quote unquote”. This is something we Americans do a lot. We do it with our finger, too, which drives some people mad.

It occurred to me that this succinct phrase tells us an awful lot about the way we think, that our mental processes are able to encompass punctuation and parenthetical digression without losing themselves in abstraction. So this is the essence of quote unquote: to write about things as they happen, to digress but not to get lost in Proustian waterfalls of verbiage, and–and this is the point–to be able to say something useful about all those books in my life. I can’t say there will be no other talk, but in the end it all comes down to reading. And writing about what you read.

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