Epilog: Borges


l believe that the phrase “obligatory reading” is a contradiction in terms; reading should not be obligatory. Should we ever speak of “obligatory pleasure”? What for? Pleasure is not obligatory, pleasure is something we seek. Obligatory happiness! We seek happiness as well. For twenty years, I have been a professor of English Literature in the School of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires, and I have always advised my students: If a book bores you, leave it; don’t read it because it is famous, don’t read it because it is modern, don’t read a book because it is old. If a book is tedious to you, leave it, even if that book is Paradise Lost-—which is not tedious to me—-or Don Quixote—-which also is not tedious to me. But if a book is tedious to you, don’t read it; that book was not written for you. Reading should be a form of happiness, so I would advise all possible readers of my last will and testament-which I do not plan to write–1 would advise them to read a lot, and not to get intimidated by writers’ reputations, to continue to look for personal happiness, personal enjoyment. It is the only way to read.