Books are a vice for me. They do take up space, so I try not to buy too many. I have yet to define what having too many means.
‘The White Book’ by Han Kang was an indulgence: I wouldn’t normally buy a book like this on a whim. I picked it up, read the blurb and I just knew. To look at the world and write about only white things fascinated me.
Books are a vice for me, because my soul seeks to connect to the world, observe it, understand it, and feel as if it is a part of it. Books are one way in which I do this.
I have heard of ‘The Vegetarian’ by the same author, and I am now drawn to want to read more by her for a simple reason. ‘The White Book’ spoke to my soul.
Books are a vice for me: a way to connect to another observer’s viewpoint. This book is an observation on life and death. Of fragile fleeting moments most people wouldn’t notice happening. I feel sometimes as if I wander around and see things other don’t notice.
Are people not mindful? Are they selfishly wrapped up in themselves? Or most horribly of all, don’t they care? Don’t they care about a white handkerchief fluttering out of a window; about why two Yulan trees have been planted in remembrance; about the inner torments of the people who are ‘laughing whitely’?
Books are a vice for me. Unlike most vices that leave you wanting more, this book was satisfying. It is simply genius, if harrowing, but life is full of sadness. Sometimes inexplicable and sometimes obvious. It is sentimental, but then without sentiment and yearning for beautiful things, like minerals that glimmer, or seeing the Milky Way wielding overhead, connecting to the every day world is just that bit more mundane.
And that is why I would recommend this book; it comes from the idea of simply observing the mundane, picking out a detail (the colour ‘white’), and showing people how wondrous the world can be, even in moments of tragedy.
Books are a vice for me, because I write them too. It isn’t often I get a sort of envy that envelops me as a writer, which whispers in the back of my thoughts: ‘I wish I had written this book.’