I wish I could say that this quote was true for me as I grew up but it was not. I grew up in a five bedroom house with a TV in each bedroom, and two TVs in the living room, one for entertainment and another for video games. As a child I was surrounded by screens and books were difficult to find. As a matter of fact the only books I recall in my house could be found in the upstairs hall cupboard. Yes, in the dusty dark hallway, behind the closed cupboard doors lay a pile of disorganized books.
Medieval authors consistently amaze with their apparent ability to remember everything. How did Boethius compose The Consolation of Philosophy from a prison cell? He fills his work with classical allusions and direct quotations all without his library, Wikipedia, or the internet. Boethius, while brilliant, is by no means an exception. Dante could reportedly recite the entire Aeneid. Yet medievals also had various helps for their memory; one of their greatest was the commonplace book.
Here are a few ideas. Let me know if they help or distract you:
First, you must lower your standards. It is not possible to achieve as much as you could with an easy book when it comes to scoring well on a test or developing the bad reading habits that endeavor forms in you if you want to read something more challenging. You won't remember as much. You won't understand as much. You won't be able to imitate as easily.
But you'll remember more that is worth remembering, you'll understand life and yourself better, and you'll be more humble before the masters.
It’s May, and the world is finally awake. The campus of EDUCRAT STATE hums like a hive. Outside the dormitory, the day is all daffodils and spring zephyrs, but inside 303 WEST HALL a storm-cloud of academic fear brews. Dreading an impending final in literature, sophomore Joe Schmo peruses a SparkNotes article on Herman Melville’s classic whaling adventure. Travelling through time to rescue Joe from this perilous, ethical fog, Socrates materializes on the couch—quite unexpectedly.
SOCRATES: Hey, Joe. What are you up to?
By my latest count, I have heard the following dictum at least a dozen times in the last month: “literary analysis destroys the love of reading.”
Parents and teachers who say this often assert that reading, especially among the very young, is primarily an experience of the heart and soul, to be shared between parents and children, and that too strong an emphasis on mental exercise prevents them from using story time to build deep relationships.
“Friendship is a necessity.”
So opens Book VIII of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Friendship, he says, “is a kind of virtue, or implies virtue, and it is also most necessary for living. Nobody would choose to live without friends even if he had all the other good things.”
Seek ye first the walk and all these things will be added unto you.
Why walk? When I was a child, people would walk a path around the mall. They started early on Saturday mornings and would have already walked many laps before I arrived, pocket full of quarters, to challenge the arcade. Walkers still walk today, although I suspect fewer of them are in the even fewer malls while many of them are marching through neighborhoods, armed with Fitbits.
In What Are People For?, Wendell Berry wrote that a poem “may remind poet and reader alike of what is remembered or ought to be remembered – as in elegies, poems of history, love poems, celebrations of nature, poems of praise or worship, or poems as prayers. One of the functions of the music or formality of poetry is to make memorable…”
We are all forgetful people and we live in a land of forgetful people, daily being called to forget all the more. We need poetry.
With that in mind, here are 11 poems every young woman should know.
One of the hardest things about getting older is the decreasing time ahead of you to catch up on reading. Even reading one hundred books a year for the next twenty years is not going to do it. I feel about my To-Be-Read pile as my husband does about the salaries of major league baseball players. He would have to work for one hundred and fifty years or more to make what some of those guys make in one year. It is not a hopeful thought.
At the very first conference, in July 2002, Dr. Charles Reed presented a wonderful talk that he called "Reading as if for life," a title drawn from Dickens' David Copperfield.
Today, July 15, 2015, Rod Dreher showed us what it means to read as if for life. He reflected through the day on the meaning of the title of his recent book How Dante Can Save Your Life.
If you weren't here, I'm sorry you missed it. I'll write one or two things that impressed me, then ask others to add their insights. First, this: