He documented his time living alone, away from the bustle of civilization, and shared what he learned from this experience, in a book of essays that has become a classic of American literature, In one essay, "Reading", Thoreau expounds on the benefits and pleasures of reading.While he devotes a good part of his essay to arguing why people should read the Greek and Latin classics in their original languages, the bulk of his essay is spent on laying out his argument for why reading is such a vital and rewarding activity."No wonder that Alexander carried the Iliad with him on his expeditions in a precious casket. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.
If you are fortunate, you encounter a particular teacher who can help, yet finally you are alone, going on without further mediation.""Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you, because it is, at least in my experience, the most healing of pleasures.
It returns you to otherness, whether in yourself or in friends, or in those who may become friends.
Oprah's Book Club is hugely influential, and a recent NEA survey reveals an actual uptick in the reading of literary fiction.
Jacobs's interactions with his students and the readers of his own books, however, suggest that many readers lack confidence; they wonder whether they are reading well, with proper focus and attentiveness, with due discretion and discernment.
In contrast to the more methodical approach of Mortimer Adler's classic (1940), Jacobs offers an insightful, accessible, and playfully irreverent guide for aspiring readers.
Each chapter focuses on one aspect of approaching literary fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, and the book explores everything from the invention of silent reading, reading responsively, rereading, and reading on electronic devices.
I recently rediscovered two books sitting on the shelves of my home library that explore this topic. The other is by a writer from the 20th and 21st century --also from New England.
In 1845, Henry David Thoreau lived in a cabin that he built with his own hands along the shores of Walden Pond in Massachusetts.
Americans are not reading enough, they say, or reading the right books, in the right way.
In this book, Alan Jacobs argues that, contrary to the doomsayers, reading is alive and well in America.