Thursday, April 24, 2014

Theme: Reading

  • Thomas Sayers Ellis reading at Cave Canem, 2012.Read more
  • In the first place, I want to emphasise the note of interrogation at the end of my title. Even if I could answer the question for myself, the answer would apply only to me and not to you. The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions.Read more
  • An editor, a person of authority and supposed discretion, requested a friend of mine, the other day, to write an essay with this weird title: “How to Read a Book of Poems so as to Get the Most Good out of It.” My friend, “more than usual calm,” politely excused himself, suffering the while from suppressed oratory.Read more
  • Portraits of women reading.Read more
  • Ignorance is degrading only when found in company with riches. The poor man is restrained by poverty and need: labor occupies his thoughts, and takes the place of knowledge. But rich men who are ignorant live for their lusts only, and are like the beasts of the field; as may be seen every day: and they can also be reproached for not having used wealth and leisure for that which gives them their greatest value.Read more
  • Digital literature runs the risk of becoming top-heavy, by which I mean that the amount of theory (let's say: the head) on digital literature is weightier than the body of works to be considered. This is quite contrary to the situation in print literature, where serious literary criticism is diminishing, whereas works are abundant.Read more
  • In the small town of Steenbergen, situated in the Dutch province of North Brabant, near the Belgian border, a book club was set up in 1797, with Voor Wetenschap en Deugd (For Scholarship and Virtue) as its motto. Its members bought their books at Verkouteren’s bookshop in the nearby town of Bergen op Zoom.Read more
  • Our usual answer to the complaint that we’ve neglected activities or a cause is “we haven’t the time” — to read books or see films that are too long, or stroll round a museum or even down a street. We can’t read an article on a new subject without being interrupted, wherever we are, by an urgent call for our attention.Read more
  • Bought, sold, exchanged, transported, displayed, defaced, stored, ignored, collected, neglected, dispersed, discarded—the transactions that enlist books stretch far beyond the literary or even the linguistic. Frustration first made me wonder where that range begins and ends, for among all those uses, reading elicits the most curiosity and leaves the least evidence.Read more
  • I think it was a mistake of academic literary criticism to allow the term “reading” to elide the distinction between the ordinary activity by which John, Jane, Suzy, and Timmy Smith read texts and the specialized activity of creating written explications of texts. The effect of such elision is to enable the belief that the two processes are basically the same, but that what the professional critic is doing is deeper and more rigorous than what John, Jane, Suzy and Timmy are doing and the Smiths really ought to tighten up their act.Read more
  • Remember that scene in Amélie? Our heroine finds a forgotten box of toys hidden in her Paris apartment's bathroom wall and seeks out its former owner. Finally she learns his identity. She leaves the toys in a phone booth and calls him there as he walks by. Read more
  • Reading has only recently become a silent act. Two hundred years ago everyone read aloud. This was dictated by church ritual, in which one, or better said everyone, had to listen to the "holy" text.Read more
  • In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education called "Why We Can't Teach Students to Love Reading," Alan Jacobs argues that "'deep attention' reading has always been and will always be a minority pursuit." Read more
  • Either way, I find it increasingly difficult to read. This year I read fewer books than last year; last year I read fewer than the year before; the year before I read fewer than the year before that.Read more
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