Monday, July 16, 2007

Quote of the Day

Swiped from a librarian's email sig file:

Idleness is a disease which must be combated; but I would not advise a rigid adherence to a particular plan of study. I myself have never persisted in any plan for two days together. A man ought to read just as his inclination leads him: for what he reads as a task will do him little good.
--Samuel Johnson

Now, I'm not sure that I agree fully with Johnson on this. I do agree that one should follow one's inclination in leisure reading, once you have learned the basics. But as adults, I think sometimes it is too easy to read only those books that we know reinforce our comfort zone of pre-existing thought and beliefs. That I do think is problematic. Sometimes, you have to read the complete text in order to be sure that you understand the author's intent in writing. Sometimes, that will entail a certain suspension of judgment until you've read all of the book, even if the line of argument and nature of the content is foreign or not to your liking. Sometimes obligatory reading is the only way to force open a mind.