[ Reading, paths to transcendence ]

Selection of Brain Droppings on the wonderful act of reading

Virginia Wolf once said: “In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself.”

To read is not a virtue; but to read well is an art, and an art that only the born reader can acquire. – Edith Wharton in her ‘The Vice of Reading’ (1903). She further elaborates, perhaps a bit harshly, that the ‘mechanical reader’ lacks ‘innate aptitude’ and the ‘gift of reading’, and could never acquire the art.