New Year, New (Book) Resolutions

Early in his memoir Without Stopping, Paul Bowles writes that he always wanted his next destination to be unlike any he had previously experienced.

In the coming year, we at Sacred Trespasses look forward to offering you the unexpected by publishing reviews, features, interviews and original work that will introduce you to exciting new voices as well as presenting work by and about writers you may already know—and some you don’t know yet but whose books are waiting to change your life. We'll help you discover some books that offer, as Richard Ford calls it, that extra beat to existence.

And so in the words of Walker Percy, whose centenary we will celebrate in 2016, we continue as readers on “the search”:

The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life… To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.

Our Reader’s Pledge for 2016

Read widely
Read wildly
Read across borders
Read across centuries
Read books that make us uncomfortable (And ones that bring pure joy)
Read to ensure that we may be—in the words of Fernando Pessoa, the author from whom this website takes its name—always astonished.

For inspiration and to thank all of you for your support and to wish you a Happy New Year, we offer a few of our favorite quotes on what is not a leisure activity—nor something to do only when the electricity fails—but a vocation and an essential aspect of living deeply and fully:

“In books I only look for the pleasure of honest entertainment; or if I study, the only learning I look for is that which tells me how to know myself, and teaches me how to die well and to live well.”

Michel de Montaigne, “On Books”

“… there is not a single true work of art that has not in the end added to the inner freedom of each person who has known and loved it.”

Albert Camus, “The Artist and His Time”


“Sometimes I think heaven must be one continuous unexhausted reading.”

Virginia Woolf, in a letter


“Literature, as much as we delight in denying it, allows us to recall from oblivion all that which the contemporary eye, more immoral every day, endeavors to pass over with absolute indifference.”

Enrique Vila-Matas, Bartleby & Co.


“You never finish reading, even if you finish all your books, just as you never finish living, even though death is certain.”

Roberto Bolaño, interview


“It is a rare reader who doesn’t go to the novel looking for a kind of encouragement to live.”

Norman Rush, The Paris Review


“Losing yourself in a good book, the old phrase, is not an idle fantasy but an addictive, model reality.”

Susan Sontag, Where the Stress Falls


“People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything, because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course is a way to have experience.”

Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners


“Man was very fortunate to have invented the book. Without it the past would completely vanish, and we would be left with nothing, we would be naked on earth.”

James Salter, The Paris Review



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