Monday, April 11, 2011

A Sunday Commonplace Entry

This weeks entry on Monday morning is from The Joy of Reading by Charles Van Doren.

"If I go to a museum to study a painting in order to write a paper about it, or to answer questions on an examination, or to refresh my memory of it prior to a lecture I am scheduled to give, I am doing one thing. If I go to a museum to look at a painting because of the joy this gives me and the enhanced appreciation of the capabilities and powers of the species to which I have the honor of belonging, I am doing another. I go to museums to do the second thing.

Something like that is also the main reason why I read what I read. To read a book merely to discover what it says about its subject is to read it for a narrow purpose. Beyond that, one can try to read a book for what it reveals about its author, about its time, about mankind, and about oneself---one's mind and memory and imagination." (pp 15-16)


parrish lantern said...

reading for pleasure & for self edification is a worthwhile goal. I read because I read & probably like (I'm Presuming here)yourself have tried to explain to others the fascination/obsession/infatuation/deep love/ etc. etc.add your selection here, that the written word holds & failed, as tho the very words one loves has tripped you up in communicating your passion.

James said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with which I agree. The passion for reading that, I believe, we share with Van Doren is a core part of our being - I find good books are very humane and reading is and enriching experience. Similar for me is listening to a great work of music or enjoying a work of art.