Saturday, April 18, 2020
‘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? The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions-there we have none.’
Friday, April 17, 2020
AS THE WEEKS OF THIS ISOLATION UNFOLD, I’m reading more than I was when it started. Feels good. Reading will always feel like you’re doing something good. Binge-watching seems like you’re eating a whole bag of cookies. Even though people talk about their binge-watching as though they’d just hiked the Appalachian Trail.