Thursday 29 December 2011

"When we lose ourselves in a book..."

I don't think I'm going to do a traditional review of the lovely bookish essay collection Stop What You're Doing And Read This! - I'm just going to continue quoting pieces from it now and then, because there are so many wonderful little snippets from it.  And I'll try to find nice paintings of readers to accompany them (and do my best not just to copy Harriet's!) The first post was here; today's comes from author Nicholas Carr (and the painting is anonymous, unsold at a 2010 auction):

"It is only when we leave behind the incessant busyness of our lives in society that we open ourselves to literature's transformative emotional power.  That doesn't mean that reading is antisocial.  The central subject of literature is society, and when we lose ourselves in a book we often receive an education in the subtleties and vagaries of human relations.  Several studies have shown that reading tends to make us more empathetic, more alert to the inner lives of others.  The reader withdraws in order to connect more deeply."

--Nicholas Carr, 'The Dreams of Readers'
Stop What You're Doing And Read This!


  1. You continue to taunt us with this's out 1/24 over here (although if you have a kindle it was available 12/26, which really begs the question, would a book like this be nearly as enjoyable on an ereader?).
    Love the quotes and the art and have added this one to the wish list. :)

  2. how could this painting go unsold?! it's a gem! as is quote from Nicholas Carr!

  3. Just finished reading this book on my e-reader yesterday. Mark Haddon's essay is a gem :)

  4. Lovely painting and a fabulous, very true quote. I can't wait for you to share more from this book - that should help sustain and excite the rest of us while we wait for it to be released!

  5. Thats a beautiful and true quote. I believe reading can be a form of meditation/prayer/contemplation/reflection, call it what you will. Reading and literature are a very valid and beautiful avenue for connecting with the Transcendent.

    The painting deserves to be sold.

    Happy New Year.

  6. Yes nice painting indeed. And don't be surprised if I occasionally steal yours.

  7. Susan - considering one of the essays is fairly anti-ereader, I would question whether it is the ideal medium for this book! I hadn't realised it was available early.

    Daniel - I know! Scandalous! A lot of the other paintings in that auction sold for £20-30 - who wasn't happy to stump up twenty quid for this?! I would have done!

    digifish - isn't it the best? Definitely my favourite of the collection.

  8. Claire - I will keep tantalising you all! And then I might move onto The Library at Night, which I got after you tantalised me with it...

    Merenia - what a lovely thought! Happy new year to you too :)

    Harriet - feel very free :)


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