Most of the great books on prayer are written by ‘experts’ – monks, missionaries, mystics, saints. I’ve read scores of them, and mainly they make me feel guilty.
You read a book for the story, for each of its words," Gordy said, "and you draw your cartoons for the story, for each of the words and images. And, yeah, you need to take that seriously, but you should also read and draw because really good books and cartoons give you a boner."I was shocked:"Did you just say books should give me a boner?""Yes, I did.""Are you serious?""Yeah... don't you get excited about books?""I don't think that you're supposed to get THAT excited about books.""You should get a boner! You have to get a boner!" Gordy shouted. "Come on!"We ran into the Reardan High School Library."Look at all these books," he said."There aren't that many," I said. It was a small library in a small high school in a small town."There are three thousand four hundred and twelve books here," Gordy said. "I know that because I counted them.""Okay, now you're officially a freak," I said."Yes, it's a small library. It's a tiny one. But if you read one of these books a day, it would still take you almost ten years to finish.""What's your point?""The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know."Wow. That was a huge idea.Any town, even one as small as Reardan, was a place of mystery. And that meant Wellpinit, the smaller, Indian town, was also a place of mystery."Okay, so it's like each of these books is a mystery. Every book is a mystery. And if you read all of the books ever written, it's like you've read one giant mystery. And no matter how much you learn, you keep on learning so much more you need to learn.""Yes, yes, yes, yes," Gordy said. "Now doesn't that give you a boner?""I am rock hard," I said.
I was very fond of strange stories when I was a child. In my village-school days, I used to buy stealthily popular novels and historical recitals. Fearing that my father and my teacher might punish me for this and rob me of these treasures, I carefully hid them in secret places where I could enjoy them unmolested. As I grew older, my love for strange stories became even stronger, and I learned of things stranger than what I had read in my childhood. When I was in my thirties, my memory was full of these stories accumulated through years of eager seeking. l have always admired such writers of the T'ang Dynasty as Tuan Ch'eng-shih [author of the Yu-yang tsa-tsu] and Niu Sheng [author of the Hsuan-kuai lu]. Who wrote short stories so excellent in portrayal of men and description of things. I often had the ambition to write a book (of stories) which might be compared with theirs. But I was too lazy to write, and as my laziness persisted, I gradually forgot most of the stories which I had learned. Now only these few stories, less than a score, have survived and have so successfully battled against my laziness that they are at last written down. Hence this Book of Monsters. I have sometimes laughingly said to myself that it is not I who have found these ghosts and monsters, but they, the monstrosities themselves, which have found me! ... Although my book is called a book or monsters, it is not confined to them: it also records the strange things of the human world and sometimes conveys a little bit of moral lesson.
I often find that a novel, even a well-written and compelling novel, can become a blur to me soon after I've finished reading it. I recollect perfectly the feeling of reading it, the mood I occupied, but I am less sure about the narrative details. It is almost as if the book were, as Wittgenstein said of his propositions, a ladder to be climbed and then discarded after it has served its purpose.
In all well-written books, there is much that is good which is not dazzling; and these shallow critics should be taught, that it is for the embellishment of the more tame and uninteresting parts of his work, that the judicious poet commonly reserves those flowers, whose beauty is defaced when they are plucked from the garland into which he had so skillfully woven them.
If you take a book into your hands, be it 'God's book, or any other useful good book,' rely on God to make it profitable to you. Do not waste time reading unprofitable books. When you read, do so not out of vain curiosity but with love for God's kingdom, compassion for human beings, and the intent to turn what you learn into prayers and praises.
which, by the way, is a great book,” offhandedly.You should read the book that you loved in high school. Read it again.You should read the book that you find on the library’s free cart whose cover makes you laugh.You should read the book whose main character has your first name.You should read the book whose author gets into funny Twitter exchanges with Colson Whitehead.You should read the book about your hometown’s history that was published by someone who grew up there.You should read the book your parents give you for your high school graduation.You should read the book you’ve started a few times and keep meaning to finish once and for all.You should read books with characters you don’t like.You should read books about countries you’re about to visit.You should read books about historical events you don’t know anything about.You should read books about things you already know a little about.You should read books you can’t stop hearing about and books you’ve never heard of.You should read books mentioned in other books.You should read prize-winners, bestsellers, beach reads, book club picks, and classics, when you want to.You should just keep reading.
I have been reading three books Dean lent me this week. One was like a rose garden--very pleasant, but just a little too sweet. And one was like a pine wood on a mountain--full of balsam and tang--I loved it, and yet it filled me with a sort of despair. It was written so beautifully--I can never write like that, I feel sure. And one--it was just like a pig-sty. Dean gave me that one by mistake.