Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pause to Digest

I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside of you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It's hollow.
--E. L. Konisburg, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

After reading a good book, particularly a long book, I sometimes have the urge to wait, to pause. Not to jump into another book, but let the first book settle in. If it is a truly good book, allowing space is a way of honoring it. Give it a couple days, maybe even a week. Great books take time to digest. This is especially true if the book is rather long or takes a while to read; you've spent a lot of time in the world created by the author, likely your vision is colored by this book; to jump straight into another book and another world would be to get something like jet lag.

I finished The Line of Beauty today.

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