paul holdengräber

paul ho

intro’d to Paul during an interview he had with Malcolm Gladwell..

malcolm interview
truly transformative to try to figure out others…

…what to do..

maybe it’s hard for you to say anything real here…

what have you changed your mind about..?

malcolm  – i think that’s a human responsibility – to be questioning yourself…


find/follow Paul:

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Paul Holdengräber (born March 15, 1960) is an American interviewer, curator and writer, known for organizing literary conversations for the New York Public Library’s public program series Live from the New York Public Library. Since February 2012, he has hosted The Paul Holdengräber Show on the Intelligent Channel on YouTube.


David Lynch: Where do ideas come from?


phone interview w/Cheryl Strayed:

on no prep in convo – letting go of the script…

i have an urgency to quote..

on quotes waking us up to a truth… uncovering it.. capturing feeling you have inside

only superficial people that do not judge appearance – wilde (paul’s quote)

“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible..

company – that’s what art does in all forms


2011 – PIERRE BAYARD & UMBERTO ECO – How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read – NYPL Live

12 min – explaining book transformed your life… then the preciseness… shows diff from my intent – pierre

16 min – schools are the places that help us not to read books – umberto

17 min – society encourages machinery by which.. through which.. other people read for us.. important – that’s important otherwise be old (?) robinson caruso for literature… umberto

18 min – the role of shame and fraud and the weight of culture are important parts of your book – paul

19 min – for many people it’s not evident that culture is a problem of locating books in general libraries… we have tendency in school/uni (in france) to prison books.. it’s a religious thing.. to terrify people.. i heard many times this story: 1\ when i was young 2\ i was obliged to read certains 3\ i did not succeed too difficult/long  4\ i stopped reading..  we prison book as if we had a very compact culture.. – pierre

21 min – so your solution is .. talk about books but don’t read them – paul

22 min – as you told me.. there is a problem of guilt… it’s not criminal to skim book… to open book and not finish it... – pierre

23 min – one finds it difficult to admit one hasn’t read hamlet – paul

23 min – i think the shame is identical (u.s. and france) we have this shame inside us..  school infuses us this shame…  – pierre

25 min – a library is a guarantee for your memory ..  – umberto

28 min – i did not read them.. but i live with them… what school doesn’t teach  that it’s not a problem of reading/not reading .. but a problem of living with books… you know the book is here.. when you have a problem can go to him and ask advice to this book such as a companion.. that’s a great difference and i think school should teach this diff between to read and to live.. – pierre

29 min – school should teach that culture doesn’t mean to know the date of the death of napolean by heart.. but to find it in 3 seconds.. – umberto

35 min – on the way we remember books – part 2 of pierre’s – ie: i noticed mistakes in other books but not mine – umberto

38 min – i never read a book i must review.. it prejudices you so.. – oscar wilde – paul

40 min – quote was first from … someone else.. i trusted when umberto quoted it that it was wilde – pierre

42 min – when i couldn’t reach umberto.. i googled the quote.. and my book was so successful.. that google said it was o wilde – pierre

43 min – perhaps it was wilde to some extent – paul

45 min – i suffer from quotomania (sp?) – paul

46 min – our unconscious relationship to books (inner library) – screen book – when have feeling speaking of same book.. but replace book we are speaking of by another one – ie: most important scenes for you are not in the book/movie..  – pierre

48 min – why notion of – read books – is not a good one… we all read them so differently.. and individually – diff at diff times – pierre

49 min – what does it mean to read a book – perhaps – on just reading the title and skimming – you reflect on childhood..  – pierre

50 min – you write of skimming being a very important attribute of reading – paul

52 min – if go to french library… students will begin on first line.. skimming not allowed.. a deep relationship of diff of libraries and practice.. i think we should teach students to skim… we intellectuals are obliged to skim.. to research – pierre

54 min –  you talk about the necessity of abstinence.. it’s very hard not to read.. but you encourage people.. – paul

56 min – a story of librarian who decides to stop reading to have a general perspective on all the books in library… wisdom… the kind of perspective you can get when you wander through american library.. this is the meaning of abstinence.. of course i don’t recommend abstinence.. but for people out of the culture.. to learn diff ways to the books.. – pierre

58 min – two ways of approaching a book.. doctoral …  certain ways to approach if we are researching..  i got my idea reading.. red-ed it up.. then later.. when topic came up.  .. went and found it .. re read it.. and it didn’t say that after all – … we use books.. let the person be free not to read but to invent them… then there is to interpret books.. dealing with a book.. you cannot invent it…  so you must surrender to the majesty of destiny.. in order to that you have to select in life few books that you must read completely and interpret faithfully without inventing.. – umberto

1:04 – on the precise ness of book reports – sometimes i’m not able to answer the questions… in book reports… because they are so precise.. once my son told me… after a report.. … it disgusted me from reading… as if reading was a kind of scientific recording… the real reader is not processing this way… ie: he dreamt, et al,  that is reading… not what we teach in schools.. – pierre

1:06 – distinction between – interpretation and use – is a problem for me… at a conscious level it’s possible.. but at unconscious level.. a problem.. it’s as if you gave me a soul.. i cannot accept this distinction… when you read unconscious  – pierre

1:07 – i know that in life you can’t distinguish… maybe few times in one’s life.. they do interpret.. rather than use… to really read a book…  – umberto

1:09 – if we could teach.. that some books will play terminal place/role in life.. – pierre

1:11 – my books are not written by myself.. but by a narrator… not me.. but a part of me .. what i tried to practice in my books … some sentences overlap what i think and some don’t – pierre

1:16 – on books and the roles of power relations – pierre

1:20 – you mean just being umberto eco is enough – paul – yes of course – pierre

1:22 – on the dangers of reading – you say maybe we should be cautious and not read too much – paul

1:23 – that’s from wilde.. and at first humorous .. but maybe not too humorous.. – pierre

1:24 – pouse on reading of reading of ruskin – so long as reading is for us the insighter who’s magic keys open to our innermost selves.. the doors of abodes into which we could not have none how to penetrate.. it’s role in our lives is solutary… on waking lives to spirit.. it tends to substittue itself for it.. … as a material thing…  we have only to take the trouble for reach on the shelves… – paul

1:26 – there is a point to stop reading if you want to create – pierre

1:27 – two kinds of dissertations.. brilliant ones and finished ones.. – paul – you do say reading is dangerous if it substitutes for something else…   you say at end of book – beyond possibility of self discovery.. discussion of unread books.. leads us back to source… when book and self separate.. the weight of free … becomes writer himself – paul – my problem… do we need more writers..?

1:29 – on school.. don’t need more passive readers.. but ones who will write… exactly what i tried to explain about book reports.. we should try to create.. – pierre – i don’t have an opinion about number of books that are published.. i try to explain to help people find own/creative way..

on internet freeing us all to write

1:31 – p 129 – to speak w/o shame about books we haven’t read… to free ourselves of the oppressive image of cultural literacy w/o gaps… as transmitted/imposed by family/school we can strive toward image of a lifetime w/o ever trying to coincide with it… truth destined for others is less important than truthfulness to ourselves... to free ourselves from obligation to seem cultivated … which prevents us from being ourselves..

1:38 – internet encourages skimming more than before – umberto

1:39 – for me skimming is not just jumping over pages… it’s a way of living with books as a companion… it’ s a liberation.. – pierre

1:41 – q: on books being unlooked through skimming… will it also be unlocked through searching (digitized)

1:43 – diff between books and texts – the real disaster if we don’t distinguish – pierre


jan 2017

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getting old.. what a strange thing to happen to a little boy

for me it’s not about seeing.. it’s about feeling

5 min – on being fascinated with .. what if.. and the many decisions we make along the way.. and what the outside can do to us.. and/or trauma..