Now, a quote to give you a taste of the rich silk-like prose Calvino's stories are woven with:
"Speculate, reflect: every thinking activity implies mirrors for me. According to Plontius, the soul is a mirror that creates material things reflecting the ideas of the higher reason. Maybe this is why I need mirrors to think: I cannot concentrate except in the presence of reflected images, as if my soul needed a model to imitate every time it wanted to employ its speculative capacity. (The adjective here assumes all its meanings: I am at once a man who thinks and a businessman, and a collector of optical instruments as well.)
The moment I put my eye to a kaleidoscope , I feel that my mind, as the heterogeneous fragments of colours and lines assemble to compose regular figures, immediately discovers the procedure to be followed: even if it is only the peremptory and ephemeral revelation of a rigorous construction that comes to pieces at the slightest tap of a fingernail on the side of the tube, to be replaced by another, in which the same elements converge in a dissimilar pattern.
Ever since I realised, when still an adolescent, that the contemplation of the enamelled gardens jumbled at the bottom of a well of mirrors stirred my aptitude for practical decisions and bold prognostications, I have been collecting kaleidoscopes."