From an interview by Héctor Soto and Matías Bravo with the great Roberto Bolaño, published as “Literature is Not Made from Words Alone” in Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview and Other Conversations:
In one way or another, we’re all anchored to the book. A library is a metaphor for human beings or what’s best about human beings, the same way a concentration camp can be a metaphor for what is worst about them. A library is total generosity.
Sometime after reading this I wandered into my own library, looking (as usual) for the source of a phrase I couldn’t get out of my head. I stopped and spent a few minutes taking it all in. How generous all these human beings, the dead and the living, have been to me! The books I’ve read; the books I’ve tried to read and failed to finish; the books I’ve read but remember only dimly; the books I’ve read and remember fondly; the few I’ve read and reread with increasing pleasure and wonder; the books I bought and have never read … what gifts! Along with my writing and attempts at writing—however feeble, however finished or fragmentary—they are among the better angels of my nature. I brought each and every one of them here for a reason, but I imagine the reason will always escape me. And isn’t that also a most generous gift?