(Roughly) Daily

“I think of reading a book as no less an experience than traveling or falling in love”*…

Via Why Is This Interesting, a reading list from the man who created The Library of Babel

Jorge Luis Borges, the consummate reader & librarian of the infinite, left behind an unfinished gift in the form of his Biblioteca Personal, meant to be 100 selections of personally-prized literature. Each was to have a written prologue and the entries were a kaleidoscopic collection of remembrances, lyrical passages, and warm regards…  

In 1985, Argentine publisher Hyspamerica asked Borges to create A Personal Library — which involved curating 100 great works of literature and writing introductions for each volume. Though he only got through 74 books [64 individual titles, 6 to be issued in two volumes] before he died of liver cancer in 1988, Borges’s selections are fascinating and deeply idiosyncratic. He listed adventure tales by Robert Louis Stevenson and H.G. Wells alongside exotic holy books, 8th century Japanese poetry and the musing of Kierkegaard…

[Borges said] “I want this library to be as diverse as the unsatisfied curiosity that has led me, and continues to lead me, to explore so many languages and so many literatures”…

Borges’ personal book picks– remembrances and warm regards: “The Biblioteca Personal Edition,” from @WhyInteresting.

Download a PDF of Borges’ list here.

* Jorge Luis Borges


As we browse, we might recall that today is Juneteenth.

Though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862 (effective January 1, 1863), word was slow to spread.  Indeed, in Texas (which had been largely on the sidelines of hostilities in the Civil War, had continued its own state constitution-sanctioned practice of slavery, and so had become a refuge for slavers from more besieged Southern states) it took years… and federal enforcement.

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger, who’d arrived  in Galveston, Texas, with 2,000 federal troops  to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves, read “General Order No. 3” from a local balcony:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Former slaves in Galveston celebrated in the streets; Juneteenth observances began across Texas the following year, and are now recognized as state holidays by 41 states– and as of 2021, as a federal holiday.

Ashton Villa in Galveston, from whose front balcony the Emancipation Proclamation was read on June 19, 1865 (source)
Juneteenth celebration in Austin, c.1900 (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 19, 2023 at 1:00 am

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