Reading is a Rare Satisfaction

Reading is that rare satisfaction, a pleasure that is deep yet happily harmless. While we are doing it we are taken out of ourselves, in the company of people usually smarter than we, building up no bad cholesterol. Why rush it? Why miss the music? Read on—but slowly, friend, slowly.

Popular culture is richer when the audience for it is large and non-exclusionary.

Your basic language snob—that, friend, would be me—is never out of work. Just as he gets his wind back after railing about one or another overworked or idiotically used word, fresh misusages appear to cause him to get his knickers in a fine new twist.

I may, at one point, have been a multitasker myself. I once had three different jobs: I edited a magazine, I taught at a university, I published enough of my own writing to come perilously close to qualifying as what Edith Wharton called a magazine bore. I had no notion at the time that I was a multitasker; I thought I was just trying to make a living. But my multitaskesqueness had quite as much to do with my intellectual modus operandi—or MO, as they say down at the station—which is always to have a big project going, then do six or seven other things to avoid doing what one is supposed to be doing on the big project. By evading taking on first things first, I have found, you can get a tremendous amount of work done.

I’m with Jules Renard here, who in his Journal noted: “It’s many a day since I’ve felt ashamed of my vanity, or tried to correct it. Of all my faults, it’s the one that amuses me most.”

Epstein, Joseph (2016-04-01). Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays


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