Fernando Pessoa called himself a sacred trespasser, one who stepped among the work of the greats to pick out, to glory in and to use what he needed. We picture him, with a sly smile, tiptoeing through tomes. In this spirit, Sacred Trespasses celebrates the literature that deserves to be read and reread, those classics that sustain and continue to bring us essential news about life and also the newly published work that demands our attention.
We built and maintain this website out of a desire to share—to share books, to trade ideas, to gush about the words that excite us and to puzzle our way through pressing, challenging ideas. The second-best thing about reading something amazing that shakes our foundations or just makes us sit back in awe is knowing that we can pass it on to others who will also feel that joy or shock or comfort or provocation. Thank you for being our readers. We take you along every day when we visit bookstores and libraries, and we think of you with every book we pick up.
For the past year, twice each week, we have published reviews, personal essays, travel articles, photography, original poetry, interviews and audio recordings.
Throughout these months, we strove to follow our Reader’s Manifesto to read more wildly, to read across centuries, to read across borders.
So far, you’ve been with us on our sojourns through Nepal, Cuba, Syria, Brazil, Somalia, Algeria and China. We travelled together, in words and images, through Barcelona, Venice, Plaquemines Parish, New Orleans and Lisbon. We marked our days through stories and novels and the figures who made them—from Tabucchi and Pessoa to Szerb and Solana, Colwin and Welty.
We’re grateful to our amazing contributors—from Australia, the United States, Europe, South America—who have shared their ideas about reading The Great Gatsby every year, about the power of James Baldwin’s words, the glory of Antelope Canyon, the joy of searching for a collective noun for all of those unread books, the legacy of Cormac McCarthy and James Salter, and the pleasure of walking with Rebecca Solnit in mind.
Join us in looking closely at our favorite sentences in Anatomy of a Sentence, from Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men and DeLillo’s Underworld to Yves Ravey's Alerte and Saint-Exupéry's Wind, Sand and Stars.
We’ve mused on ambivalence about Mardi Gras, the fear of eternal life, how to know when to give up on a book, how to read and why. We’ve called on Joan Didion to cover the U.S. presidential campaign, and we’ve looked to writers to reassure us in the face of madness or help us make sense of our present.
We look forward to sharing our thoughts on the new Booker Prize long list, to giving you interviews and articles by and about more writers you might not have ever heard about but who you’ll want to stop everything you’re doing so that you can read their work. We look forward to offering more reviews of the best we come across. Most of all, we look forward to sharing our thoughts on all exciting things literary and, above all, our love for the written word.
Thank you for your company and for reading along with us.