Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Reading as a Hobby

Here Lewis is talking about reading Chroniques by Jean Froissart, which is described in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II as "a lively, though sometimes inaccurate record of Europe in the fourteenth century with particular emphasis on the first half of the Hundred Years' War between France and England".

To enjoy a book like that thoroughly I find I have to treat it as a sort of hobby and set about it seriously. I begin by making a map on one of the end leafs: then I put in a genealogical tree or two. Then I put a running headline at the top of each page: finally I index at the end all the passages I have for any reason underlined. I often wonder--considering how people enjoy themselves developing photos or making scrap-books--why so few people make a hobby of their reading in this way. Many an otherwise dull book which I had to read have I enjoyed in this way, with a fine-nibbed pen in my hand: one is making something all the time and a book so read acquires the charm of a toy without losing that of a book.[...]

I think re-reading old favourites is one of the things we differ on, isn't it, and you do it very rarely. I probably do it too much. It is one of my greatest pleasures: indeed I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.
~C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Volume II, Letter to Arthur Greeves Feb 1932


On this day:

1923 Lewis took his English School exams, and was sweating the results.

3 Comment(s):

At Tue Jun 14, 09:14:00 AM EST, Blogger Bob said...

I can't bring myself to mark up my books, but I certainly agree with the sentiment in the second paragraph. I don't understand how one can not re-read books that one likes a lot.

At Tue Jun 14, 05:57:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

I know, can you believe he advocated writing in books? But in other places I have read that he inherited his extensive library from his father, and wasn't really into book collecting (the nicer editions that is).

I re-read books when I have the time, or sometimes I just pick a favorite up at random and read a few pages--they feel like old friends to me.

At Fri May 14, 12:59:00 PM EDT, Blogger cdaz the terrible said...

I love to read, and this is just one more reason to, I don't think I have ever marked up my books, but it's a good idea of studying or if I just want to remember something. Re-reading books is part of owning them I have re-read the same book over and over even though it is WAY below my reading level! Some books are just worth it!


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