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Jul 24, 2006

Ruined by Reading

7083 Rarely does the daily paper move me to re-examine my life.  But a recent New York Times piece quoted a Chinese scholar whose "belief in Buddhism...has curbed his appetite for books."  Mr. Cha says, "To read more is a handicap.  It is better to keep your own mind free and to not let the thinking of others interfere with your own free thinking."  I clipped his statement and placed it on the bedside table, next to a pile of books I was reading or planned to read or thought I ought to read.  The clipping is about two square inches and almost weightless, the pile of books some nine inches high, weighing a few pounds.  Yet they face each other in perfect balance.  I am the scale on which they rest.

Lying in the shadow of the books, I brood on my reading habit.  What is it all about?  What am I doing it for?  And the classic addict's question, What is it doing for me?

-- opening lines from Ruined by Reading by Lynne Sharon Schwartz, 1996, Beacon Press.

I kept this book on my shelves for years and years, thorougly annoyed by the irony.  Lately I have been less inclined to read -- hoping to spend more time in fewer but more meaningful moments -- but I won't credit the Buddha.  I also won't say whether I'm having any luck, but I thought I could at least share the quote.

FYI, I'm pretty sure that I gave that book away during the 2005 purges.  Above text pulled from a used copy at the Skylight Exchange in Carrboro.

01:39 AM in Quotables | Permalink