reading in ravello

There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag—and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty—and vice versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.

Doris Lessing, ‘Intro to The Golden Notebook’

This sounds pretty much like how I seem to be going about my reading lately. Picking up whatever catches my attention and fancy for the moment and dropping them for whatever else that may come along that seem like a better fit for the mood. Hence, I never seem to be able to finish the books that get started and have nothing much to show for my reading. But then again, why do I feel like I need to have something to show for anyway? It really is a rather personal thing after all, this whole business of reading, isn’t it? So yeah, I think I’m just gonna go along with Doris Lessing’s “… only way to read…”  (for now, at least).

By the way, the snapshot above was taken at the Villa Rufolo, Ravello, a charming little town situated above the Amalfi Coast. The little guy was looking kinda bored, when we first saw him sitting there between the columns, staring into space. So, we thought he might like to have something to read instead. 😉

ravello sculpture

ravello sculpture 2

ravello sculpture 3


7 thoughts on ““There is only one way to read…..

  1. Coincidentally, I am presently reading Lessing’s ‘Martha Quest’ and she has things to say about the nature of reading in that as well. In fact I bookmarked the page and thought I must make a blogpost out of that. Clearly it was a question that much exercised her mind.


    1. I have yet to read any of Lessing’s works in proper so far, but I think it’s something that should be rectified soon. Anyone who has any insights on the subject of books and reading is definitely worth exploring further. I have a volume of her short stories, and a collection of her essays to start with.


  2. This kind of reading definitely has its strong points. Paying more attention to passages or particular scenes is one of them..
    Sometimes I find I’m not letting myself read in such a way – not wanting to resist going with the flow for the love of the whole. Very annoying..


    1. As tempting as this prescribed way of reading may sound, I guess it is only best adopted as and when necessary, and not to be used as the norm. To be able to read like that (without giving two hoots about the should or should not), would be quite a liberating experience, I imagine. However, some books do need some persevering and ‘toughing it out’ in order for it to be fully appreciated as a whole, I guess. Love the way you put it, though – “not wanting to resist going with the flow for the love of the whole”. 😉


      1. Why, of course.. No kind of reading should be a norm – as you said, some books are best read slowly, some cannot be read any other way but running forward, some should be dipped into etc.. And, of course, there is a difference between reading and rereading. So.. 🙂


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