Friday, June 26, 2015

On reading something again, and again, and again

http://www.rodcollins.com/wordpress/are-classic-books-dead-classics-a-thing-of-the-past
One reader of Anecdotal Evidence brands me “an old foggy [sic]” and a reactionary for “reading all those old books.” I don’t read enough new books, he tells me, I “waste too much time reading books you read before,” and so forth. Similar notes arrive periodically and they leave me, at first, puzzled, and then amused. I suppose I should be grateful that someone cares enough about books to get angry about them. ....

One reliable test of any work is memorability. Do we remember it, even memorize it? Not often, but always happily. The present is a very small place, a place of diminished accomplishment and minimal expectations. Our wealth is in the past. No book is good or worth reading simply because it is old (or new), but because it is good and someone thought enough of it to pass it along. [more]
The illustration, of course, reflects my own tastes, not, probably, the types of books Professor Kurp had in mind. The picture comes from http://www.rodcollins.com/wordpress/are-classic-books-dead-classics-a-thing-of-the-past