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On the reading (and not reading) of books

There is a near infinite number of books in the world, but a very limited amount of time we can set to reading to them. There simply isn’t time to underline and highlight our way through each and every one of them. Fortunately for us, Francis Bacon showed us how we should best approach our stack of books. He advised:

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested:
that is, some books are to be read only in parts,
others to be read, but not curiously,
and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

But while Bacon some good direction here on how to deal with good books, these directions say nothing about how to best deal with the many books that are simply not worth any time.

Fortunately Dorothy Parker (or perhaps it was Sid Ziff?) has provided some direction here. She wrote of a book she was reviewing,

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”


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