Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Shelf Life

Serious reading and classical methodologies: such things hardly represent the kind of wiz-bang razzle-dazzle doohickeries that excite the educational reformers, social planners, religious leaders, and political prognosticators these days. But then, who asked them anyway? They're the ones who got us into the current designer disaster of cultural disintegration and disarray--where all the profundities of a civilized moral order have become so much rubbish. So, how do we go about developing the habits of lifetime learning--reading, studying, and resisting the tyranny of the urgent--that we need in order to do the things we are called to do and to be the things we are called to be?
1. Read. “A broad interest in books usually means a broad interest in life.” Lyman Abbott
2. Read Deeply. “ Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Richard Steele
3. Read Out of Your Time. “I hate to read new books. Contemporary writers may generally be divided into two classes—one’s friends or one’s foes. Of the first we are compelled to think too well, and of the last we are disposed to think too ill, to receive much genuine pleasure from the perusal, or to judge fairly of the merits of either.” William Hazlitt
4. Read Classically. “A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” Italo Calvino
5. Read Above Your Head. “You may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worthwhile to be tormented for two or three years of one’s life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it.” Jane Austen
6. Read According to Plan. “It is a good plan to have a book with you in all places and at all times.” Oliver Wendell Holmes
7. Just Read: The Medium Is Nearly as Vital as Message. “If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them.” Winston Churchill
8. Read All Along the Footnote Trail. “If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying.” John Ruskin
9. Read with an Eye to Leaving a Legacy. “A little library, growing every year, is an honorable part of a man’s history.” Henry Ward Beecher
10. Read with All Joy in the Journey. “When I get a little money, I buy books; and if there is any left, I buy food and clothes.” Desiderius Erasmus
11. Read Constantly (at least daily). “In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” Mortimer Adler
"You can find all the new ideas in the old books; only there you will find them balanced, kept in their place, and sometimes contradicted and overcome by other and better ideas. The great writers did not neglect a fad because they had not thought of it, but because they had thought of it and of all the answers to it as well." G.K. Chesterton
“The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not yet read them.” Samuel Butler

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Thanks for the GKC quote that sent me to Google to find which book that essay ( quote) came from. Our students are reading many of his essays this year to counterbalance Antiquity! It's fun.