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)

Serviceable sentences, 5/10,000

The solution [to difficulty] is to shut up, find a good, hard book and, as the voice of a child of God kept telling St. Augustine, “Take up and read; take up and read!
—Alex[ander] Zubatov, “Oppressed By Difficulty: Students Are Embracing Identity Politics To Avoid Hard Work,” Independent Journal Review (26 January 2017)

(Cf. Žižek on “the only way to survive.”)


Serviceable sentences, 2/10,000

The book as both object of contemplation and contemplative provocation seeks to restore silence for a distinct purpose: the reader reading becomes adept at deflecting all exhortation posing as information hurled against the slender bulwark of the private act, while attending to the business at hand, silent congress with an imagined world, one distinctly, but never wholly, of the writer’s invention.
—James McCourt, “Afterword” (2006) to What’s For Dinner?, by James Schuyler (1978)