It was going to be a long-drawn-out business to compose this document. The woman was so fastidious in her choice of words that she made me cross it all out as fast as I wrote it down.
“We’ll tear up this awful rubbish,” she would say. And the few lines we had been struggling to compose for most of the day were consigned to oblivion. We went on like that for days on end. We never succeeded in expressing meticulously enough the kind of slops the calf was to be fed. By nightfall we were so exhausted that we were almost in a coma; and then we tore up the whole day’s output. This woman must surely have been descended from Snorri Sturluson. One thing is certain, that she never deviated from the most stringent standards of Icelandic prose style. Often when I myself am writing something, this woman comes to my mind again. Unfortunately, she failed to realize that one can set one’s literary standards so high that it becomes impossible to utter a single word or groan except at the very most to say A-a-a. Often these letter-writing sessions would end with the woman taking a fit. I would leave the cubicle, defeated, with the pen and stationary, and close the door.
from “The Fish Can Sing“, by Icelandic Nobel Prize winner Hálldor Laxness
We saw yesterday what some widows do with the legacy of their venerable husbands. Salinger had declared that he wouldn’t sell the movie rights to Catcher in the Rye in order to leave that possibility to his family as inheritance – but selling his toilet and signing an authenticity letter sounds a bit excessive.
But then, the world is full of eccentric people. Today we present mancunian Jonathan Callan, who has decided that wedging a book under a table’s leg is too old a joke and has found new uses for his library. He now devotes his patience and screws to construct these pieces of, ahem, art. Sorry, I got a cough there.
No, really, I think it’s really creative – but a tad ugly too, right?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done with a book?