How Should One Read a Book? by Virginia WoolfMost commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices.
Perhaps the quickest way to understand the elements of what a novelist is doing is not to read, but to write; to make your own experiment with the dangers and difficulties of words.
Would it not be wiser, then, to remit this part of reading and to allow the critics, the gowned and furred authorities of the library, to decide the question of the book’s absolute value for us? Yet how impossible! We may stress the value of sympathy; we may try to sink our identity as we read. But we know that we cannot sympathise wholly or immerse ourselves wholly; there is always a demon in us who whispers, “I hate, I love”, and we cannot silence him.
Why should you read Tolstoy's "War and Peace"? - Brendan Pelsue
The Common Reader, Second Series, by Virginia Woolf
We all do it. We all write at least a post a year as a solemn decree to read what we want, when we want, and let the snobs be damned. Then we go back to asking the same questions again and the cycle never ends. Let her ease our worries, and clean our guilty slates for a year of reading whatever makes us happy in The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions.
In the first place, I want to emphasise the note of interrogation at the end of my title. Even if I could answer the question for myself, the answer would apply only to me and not to you. The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because you will not allow them to fetter that independence which is the most important quality that a reader can possess. After all, what laws can be laid down about books?
I am privileged to have grown up in a house filled with books. The shelves in my home, school, and local library were a wilderness, and I was left to carve my own paths through their thickets.
the lady and her butler chapter 24