One of the books on my current reading list (I’ve usually got at least three going at any given time, sometimes more!) is E.M. Forster’s classic on writing, Aspects of the Novel. Here’s a passage I simply had to share:
Pseudo-scholarship is, on its good side, the homage paid by ignorance to learning…Books have to be read (worse luck, for it takes a long time); it is the only way of discovering what they contain. A few savage tribes eat them, but reading is the only method of assimilation revealed to the west. The reader must sit down alone and struggle with the writer, and this the psuedo-scholar will not do. He would rather relate a book to the history of its time, to events in the life of its author, to the events it describes, above all to some tendency. As soon as he can use the word ‘tendency’ his spirits rise, and though those of his audience may sink, they often pull out their pencils at this point and make a note, under the belief that a tendency is portable.
It gives me a lift to think that even ‘the greats’ had to struggle with books at times. But, oh, what a glorious tousle it is! And how dreary and flat life would be without it!