Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Joseph Epstein is a "bookish" person. I enjoyed reading his "The Bookish Life."
  • So many books are there in the world that no one can get round to even all the best among them, and hence no one can claim to be truly well-read. Some ­people are merely better-read than others.
  • The bookish life can have no goal: It is all means and no end. The point, I should say, is not to become immensely knowledgeable or clever, and certainly not to become learned.
  • The act of reading—office memos, newspaper articles on trade and monetary policy, and bureaucratic bumpf apart—should if possible never be separable from pleasure.
  • Some of the best of all books are those one loved when young and finds even better in later life. .... The frisson afforded by rereading is the discovery not only of things one missed the first time round but of the changes in oneself.
  • Unlike with friends, we spend time with books only because we truly wish to be in their company. We never have to ask what they thought of us. Clashes of egotism have nothing to do with the bookish relationship. Perhaps best of all, when we tire of books, unlike tiring of friends, we close them and replace them on the shelf.
  • Reading may not be the same as conversation, but reading the right books, the best books, puts us in the company of men and women more intelligent than ourselves. Only by keeping company with those smarter than ourselves, in books or in persons, do we have a chance of becoming a bit smarter.

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