A Well-Read Life (A Little Guide)

In January, I have been reading books about "reading books." You have heard of meta-thinking, which is "thinking about thinking." Apply that idea to reading about reading, or thinking about reading.

Over the years I have read some real classics on this, with the number one book being Mortimer Adler's, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading. Now, that is a pretty long book, and most people may not want to wade through it. So I want to offer you a very nice, well written, and MUCH shorter book - The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life by Steve Leveen.

How Fast Should You Read?

how fast should you read a book

The important thing is not so much to read fast, as to read each book at the speed it deserves. It is as regrettable to spend too much time on some books as it is to read others too quickly. Jacques Bonnet

I read a lot. The last two years I read about 175 books each year. People think I am a speed reader. I am not. I have never sped-read a book in my life. However, my reading rate can be pretty fast. But I don't read to get through a book. I read to enjoy a book and to learn from it. Therefore, I love this advice from Jacques Bonnet about the speed at which one should read.

So I read at the pace a book deserves. Most of the books I read, need good time, energy, and focus to get the most out of them. 

The Library as the Testament of Reading

to build a library is to build a life

To build a library is to create a life.
It is never merely a random collection of books.

The Paper House


A library is a reflection of the collector-reader. I suppose there are some readers who are utterly spontaneous, and unrestrained in their purchase of books. They read widely, and give little thought or focus to their reading.

The Mystique of Books

the library is what brings us closest to paradise on earth, Jacques Bonnet

The library is what brings us closest to paradise on earth. Jacques Bonnet

There is something wonderful about the great libraries. They are the symbols of knowledge, learning, the pursuit of wisdom, the results of research...

Really large libraries are like cathedrals. They are vast, spacious, soaring... and that makes their accumulation of "knowledge pursuits" even more wondrous. But one's personal library serves the same purpose, but on a smaller scale. When I look at the books on my shelves, they remind me of the greater wisdom of those who wrote them. They remind me of the "countless" other books on the same subject, that I have not yet read.

Books: Buying, Reading, Collecting and Organizing Them

The Working Library

This week I will have a series of short reflections on books, reading, and libraries.

I'm talking about a working library, the kind where you don't hesitate to write on your books, or read them in the bath; a library that results from keeping everything you have ever read - including paperbacks and perhaps several editions of the same title - as well as the ones you mean to read one day. A non-specialist library, or rather one specialized in so many areas that it becomes a general one.  Phantoms on the Bookshelves, Jacques Bonnet

a prodigious desire to buy and own books, Julian the Apostate

Enter At Your Own Risk

In his memoir, Still Surprised, Warren Bennis tells the story of Charles Kettering, a great leader, inventer and life long learner who endowed the Antioch Library so others could learn. Kettering did not want to have a plaque for the building, but when he finally relented, the words he chose said:

Charles Kettering, enter at your own risk

That is what we need to know about books, libraries, schools, seminars . . . anything that is a learning environment.

Learning can be hazardous to your comfort zones.

Learning will stretch you, empower you, reorient you, correct you, challenge you, irritate you, stimulate you, send you off and running in new directions, and generally be repsonsible for a great deal of CHANGE.

Subscribe to RSS - library