Books, Reading
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Teaser Tuesday – ‘The Periodic Table’

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!

Primo Levi The Periodic TableThis week teaser sentences come from a book I borrowed from the library. In recent years I’ve not been the biggest fan of pre-read books, mostly because I like knowing that I’m the first person to read a book, but also because I don’t know where the hands of the reader before me might have been. I’m not a germaphobe, but I hate the thought of reading a book that someone else may have read while they were sitting on the toilet. Or something like that.
Anyway, with study meaning that occasionally I need to venture to the library for a particular book and with my book buying spinning out of control, I’m gradually getting over this.

The other day I borrowed a couple of books by Primo Levi, a writer whose work I’ve wanted to read for a while. He was first brought to my attention in a discussion of another of his works, If This Is A Man, in which Levi recounts his experiences during his time spent in the death camp of Auschwitz during World War Two. I’m yet to read If This Is A Man and the second of his autobiographies, The Truce, but even without reading them I know that they are probably going to rip out my insides and stitch me back together.

The first of his books I’m reading is called The Periodic Table, in which each chapter is inspired by an element of the ‘periodic table’, forming a memoir of sorts. I just started reading it last night so I’m not too far in, but already the only word I can use to describe it is ‘wow’. Here are the teaser sentences, these taken from the chapter titled, ‘Hydrogen’:

“It was enervating, nauseating, to listen to lectures on the problem of being and knowing, when everything around us was a mystery pressing to be revealed: the old wood of the benches, the sun’s sphere beyond the windowpanes and the roofs, the vain flight of the pappus down in the June air. Would all the philosophers and all the armies of the world be able to construct this little fly?”

And now, a couple of questions: First, what are you reading this week, and second, how do you feel about pre-read books?




  1. Ooh,this one sounds cerebral! I’ll be curious to see how you end up liking it.

    I’ve never had a problem with library books, unless I can see crud on the pages (because who’s to know what it is?!).


    • You know I don’t “do” science, so some of the more sciencey stuff is a bit beyond the realms of my knowledge, but thankfully there’s not too much of it, and it’s mostly about life. The way he draws life from the science – specifically the elements – is just brilliant. Some of his writing is like poetry.
      I think you might like it (if you haven’t already read it).

      This book is actually older than me, and because of the age little dandruffy page fibres keep falling out of the spine. But my mind keeps wondering whether it’s a build up of decades of people’s trapped head dandruff falling out of the pages.

      And crud. Always say no to crud.


  2. Now, you have me wanting to read one of his books! 🙂
    I read pre-read books all the time – I have gotten very good at not thinking about who had them last, unless they smell like someone (usually a perfume smell). I hate that.
    Right now, I’m reading The Biology of Desire. Good so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You really should try and get one of his books. This one, being based on the periodic table, revolves a lot around chemistry and science in general, but the way he links that science with every day life is really amazing. And his writing is beautiful once you get into it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • AND I just checked out The Biology of Desire on Goodreads. It sounds so interesting! I need some new non-fiction reads so I’ll definitely be adding it to the list.

      Liked by 1 person

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