No library is complete without some Borges. I obtained this 1964 edition at a used bookshop on the recommendation of a friend who was going through a Borges phase in college. Someone I don’t know wrote an inscription in the cover to someone else I don’t know, dated 1986. A doomed romance or friendship. Upon review, the text seems more oblique than I recall. From a piece called “The Immortal”:

To be immortal is commonplace; except for man, all creatures are immortal, for they are ignorant of death; what is divine, terrible, incomprehensible, is to know that one is immortal. I have noted that, in spite of religions, this conviction is very rare. Israelites, Christians and Moslems profess immortality, but the veneration they render this world proves they believe only in it, since they destine all other worlds, in infinite number, to be its reward or punishment. The wheel of certain Hindustani religions seems more reasonable to me; on this wheel, which has neither beginning nor end, each life is the effect of the preceding and engenders the following, but none determines the totality… Indoctrinated by a practice of centuries, the republic of immortal men had attained the perfection of tolerance and almost that of indifference. They knew that in an infinite period of time, all things happen to all men. Because of his past or future virtues, every man is worthy of all goodness, but also of all perversity, because of his infamy in past or future.

This Old Book started as a Tumblr, which is also archived on These are books that have survived many purges from my shelves over decades, with a few comments about why I have held onto them.

AuthorPatrick LaForge