The Complete Polysyllabic Spree

Sunday, July 03, 2011

I read a book by Nick Hornby today, the author of About the Boy. It's really a book about reading books. I've quite enjoyed it and definitely could relate to some of the stuff he wrote.  Here are some quotes from the book that in one way or another caught my attention.

I don’t reread books very often; I’m too conscious of both my ignorance and my mortality.

A couple months ago, I became depressed by the realization that I’d forgotten pretty much everything I’ve ever read. I have, however, bounced back: I am now cheered by the realization that if I’ve forgotten everything I’ve ever read then I can read some of my favourite books again as if for the first time.

Even if you love  movies and music as much as you do books, it’s still, in any given four-week period, way, way more likely you’ll find great book you haven’t read than a great movie you haven’t seen, or a great album you haven’t heard: the assiduous consumer will eventually exhaust movies and music.

Richard Dawkins, Wheen recalls, once pointed out that if an alternative remedy proves to be efficacious- that is to say if it is shown to have curative properties in rigorous medical trials - then “it ceases to be alternative; it simply becomes medicine”. In other words, it’s only “alternative” so long as it’s been shown not to be any bloody good.

<…> reading is domestic activity, and is therefore susceptible to any changes in domestic environment.

Hornby quotes Gabriel Zaid: "The truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or desire for more."

We are never allowed to forget that some books are badly written; we should remember that sometimes they’re badly read, too.

You can’t negotiate with moral terrorists.

Book length, like time, is an abstract concept.

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