Book reviews

Life’s Greatest Pleasure

The effect of this picture is achieved by placing the book on a glass table or surface, and making sure you frame the book and glass and not other parts that give away that the book is resting on a table. My patio floor looks good to me, but you can even place a plain color board or fabric on the floor and play with it.

This book by Burton Rascoe. Book arrived last Friday, and I finished it in a couple of days. A book about books, pleasurable and informative, a book that incites to read other books, where some authors and titles are recognized, others have been heard of vaguely, and many new are exciting future reads.

The bench had a bit of paint splattered, from the time my father in law was painting the deck and roof he built for us, and amazingly, this book has some paint splattered as well!
I wouldn’t know which quote to choose, for each chapter was very interesting yet different. I will leave you with two different excerpts for you to catch a glimpse of the book.
When talking about college graduates,
“book reading too often has become associated with midnight oil and the drudgery of homework. Students are taught by teachers who are themselves victims of the same educational process, and who openly or subconsciously have a positive distaste for disinterested reading. Wrong life patterns thus are formed, and instead of our getting an eager candidate for continuing education, who should look forward to a lifetime of learning and reading after commencement, we get an unripe Bachelor of Arts who is scarcely adult and who shuns education like the plague”.
Let me add this book is from 1937
This is a more classic view of the spine. It is ingenious that the title says Life’s Greatest Pleasure, and the spine The Joys of Reading. I like everything about this quaint book.
It is not right for you to underscore passages or make marginal notations on such a book; (he is talking about a book that is not yours) for not only do you thus deface property which does not belong to you, but you have also interjected your personality between the author and other readers of the book.  (…) “Indecency”? Ah yes, that unpleasant word is there in its proper place and usage: for, although undressing is a necessary daily ritual, it is a private one and it becomes an indecency when it is performed in public. You undrape your mind when you underscore a passage or write upon the margin of a page; this is an intimate act and should not be subjected to the view of others. It is a private communication you have with the author by whom you have been pleased or with whom you are in dispute. This communication is usually cryptic, in a kind of shorthand of your own, sometimes legible or comprehensible only to yourself. It is therefore a further offense when it is written in a book you do not own, for it makes you come before the reader and between him and the author not merely as an annoyance but as an enigma also.
   Buy books, then, that you have read with profit and pleasure and hope to read and reread. Buy books that you may underscore passages and write upon the margins, thus assuring yourself that the book is your own. Keep the books that mean the most to you close at hand, one or two, if possible, on a table at your bedside. Do not hide away your favorite books or keep them locked in enclosed shelves. Do not keep them under glass.

I appreciate Rascoe’s encouragement to buy books as much as I doubt I was in need of it, my purchase right after this title was Titans of Literature, from Homer to the Present, though that present is already left in the forties, which I even like best.

Before I close this post, thank you, Dawn, for suggesting this title. I read about it over a year ago, but it stayed with me up to now, when I finally read it.


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