"Every important reading experience bears the mark of an extraordinary relationship, which is never peaceful and combines anxiety and intoxication, as when a song suddenly arises and finds its harmony. A book thus becomes a being that is always at your side and brings into your life its attachments, its motives, which call into play your attachments, your motives." Ezio Raimondi's appetite for books is so obvious that an insolent pupil of his called him "libridinous". His passion, however, is not similar to that of the collector or the book-lover. A book, says Raimondi, is a being that speaks to us, and reading is an opportunity for encounters and friendship. Re-reading books that have accompanied us over the years really does mean retrieving pages and people that were once our friends. The Gutenberg Age may be coming to an end, but the vivid words of this great reader is a testament to the inexhaustible wealth of knowledge and emotion that experiencing a book brings into our lives.
Ezio Raimondi is professor emeritus of Italian Literature at the University of Bologna.