Hesse on idle reading

Knecht saw a bookcase full of old books which aroused his curiosity. Idle reading was another pleasure which he had unlearned and almost forgotten in years of abstinence. This moment now reminded him intensely of his student years: to stand before a shelf of unknown books, reach out at random, and choose one or another volume whose gilt or author’s name, format or the color of the binding, appealed to him.
—Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, trans. Richard & Clara Winston (1943/1969)

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