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.: August 2006 --> How to Read

How to Read

» Nick Hornby: How to Read.

I am not particularly interested in language. Or rather, I am interested in what language can do for me, and I spend many hours each day trying to ensure that my prose is as simple as it can possibly be. But I do not wish to produce prose that draws attention to itself, rather than the world it describes, and I certainly don't have the patience to read it.

cf The Reader's Bill of Rights by Daniel Pennac. (via dm)

 [ 08.22.06 ]


A tempting philosophy, but sometimes great ideas are poorly expressed.

I can agree with Hornby on this: that I would never want to become the reader who ploughs through a book just because I feel I ought to (in order to purify/edify/educate/qualify me).

That being said, there's a little too much "reading for fun" in his philosophy for my tastes. I want to enjoy what I'm reading, or I won't finish it.

But for my time and money, there are too many books with too much wisdom to simply read only to get a fun and entertaining little story that's breezy and lighthearted. I know he doesn't come right out and say this, but I picked up on this nonetheless. Maybe I'm misreading him.

I will always go for the piece of non-fiction loaded with challenging ideas before I will for the nice story about the isolated farmer tucked away in the Irish countryside just longing for love.

It's a nice story, and you can read it if you want. I just endeavor to get something a little different out of my reading, and Hornby doesn't seem to account for my goals very well.

There's more to reading than a pretty story.

Re: non-fiction loaded with challenging ideas.

I think that comes down to personal taste. The whole point is not to read something because everyone else is reading or seems cool to read. Read to enrich yourself.



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