The Guide to Reading — the Pocket University Volume XXIII
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The Guide to Reading — the Pocket University Volume XXIII

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Guide to Reading by Edited by Dr. Lyman Abbott, Asa Don Dickenson, andOthersCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom ofthis file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. Youcan also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: The Guide to Reading The Pocket University Volume XXIIIAuthor: Edited by Dr. Lyman Abbott, Asa Don Dickenson, and OthersRelease Date: December, 2004 [EBook #7167] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file wasfirst posted on March 19, 2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE GUIDE TO READING ***Produced by Michelle Shephard, Tiffany Vergon, Charles Aldarondo, Charles Franks and the Online DistributedProofreading Team.THE POCKET ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Guide toReading by Edited by Dr. Lyman Abbott, Asa DonDickenson, and OthersCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers!*****Title: The Guide to Reading The Pocket University
Volume XXIIIAuthor: Edited by Dr. Lyman Abbott, Asa DonDickenson, and OthersRelease Date: December, 2004 [EBook #7167][Yes, we are more than one year ahead ofschedule] [This file was first posted on March 19,2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK THE GUIDE TO READING ***Produced by Michelle Shephard, Tiffany Vergon,Charles Aldarondo, Charles Franks and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team.
THE POCKET UNIVERSITYVOLUME XXIIITHE GUIDE TO READINGEDITED BY DR. LYMAN ABBOTT, ASA DONDICKINSON AND OTHERS
CONTENTSBOOKS FOR STUDY AND READINGBy Lyman AbbottTHE PURPOSE OF READINGBy John MacyHow TO GET THE BEST Out OF BOOKSBy Richard Le GallienneTHE GUIDE TO DAILY READINGBy Asa Don DickinsonGENERAL INDEX OF AUTHORSGENERAL INDEX OF TITLESTHE POCKET UNIVERSITYBooks for Study and ReadingBY LYMAN ABBOTTThere are three services which books may renderin the home: they may be ornaments, tools, orfriends.I was told a few years ago the following story whichis worth retelling as an illustration of the use of
books as ornaments. A millionaire who had onehouse in the city, one in the mountains, and one inthe South, wished to build a fourth house on theseashore. A house ought to have a library.Therefore this new house was to have a library.When the house was finished he found the libraryshelves had been made so shallow that they wouldnot take books of an ordinary size. His architectproposed to change the bookshelves. Themillionaire did not wish the change made, but toldhis architect to buy fine bindings of classical booksand glue them into the shelves. The architect onmaking inquiries discovered that the bindings wouldcost more than slightly shop-worn editions of thebooks themselves. So the books were bought, cutin two from top to bottom about in the middle, onehalf thrown away, and the other half replaced uponthe shelves that the handsome backs presentedthe same appearance they would have presented ifthe entire book had been there. Then the glassdoors were locked, the key to the glass doors lost,and sofas and chairs and tables put against them.Thus the millionaire has his library furnished withhandsome bindings and these I may add are quiteadequate for all the use which he wishes to makeof them.This is a rather extreme case of the use of booksas ornaments, but it illustrates in a bizarre waywhat is a not uncommon use. There is this to besaid for that illiterate millionaire: well-bound booksare excellent ornaments. No decoration with wallpaper or fresco can make a parlor as attractive asit can be made with low bookshelves filled with
works of standard authors and leaving room abovefor statuary, or pictures, or the inexpensivedecoration of flowers picked from one's owngarden. I am inclined to think that the mostattractive parlor I have ever visited is that of abookish friend whose walls are thus furnished withwhat not only delights the eye, but silently invitesthe mind to an inspiring companionship.More important practically than their use asornaments is the use of books as tools. Everyprofessional man needs his special tools—thelawyer his law books, the doctor his medical books,the minister his theological treatises and his Biblicalhelps. I can always tell when I go into aclergyman's study by looking at his books whetherhe is living in the Twentieth Century or in theEighteenth. Tools do not make the man, but theymake his work and so show what the man is.Every home ought to have some books that aretools and the children should be taught how to usethem. There should be at least an atlas, adictionary, and an encyclopædia. If in the eveningwhen the family talk about the war in the Balkansthe father gets out the atlas and the children lookto see where Roumania and Bulgaria and Greeceand Constantinople and the Dardanelles are on themap, they will learn more of real geography in halfan hour than they will learn in a week of schoolstudy concerning countries in which they have nointerest. When there is reading aloud in the familycircle, if every unfamiliar word is looked up in adictionary, which should always lie easily accessible
upon the table, they will get unconsciously awidening of their vocabulary and a knowledge ofthe use of English which will be an invaluablesupplement to the work of their teacher of Englishin the school. As to cyclopædias they are of allsizes from the little six- volumed cyclopædia in theEveryman's Library to the twenty-nine volumedEncyclopædia Britannica, and from the generalcyclopædia with more or less full information onevery conceivable topic to the more distinctivefamily cyclopædia which covers the life of thehousehold. Where there are children in the familythe cyclopædia which covers the field they aremost apt to be interested in—such as "The Libraryof Work & Play" or "The Guide Series" tobiography, music, pictures, etc. —is the best oneto begin with. After they have learned to go to it forinformation which they want, they will desire amore general cyclopædia because their wantshave increased and broadened.So much for books as ornaments and as tools.Certainly not less important, if comparisons can bemade I am inclined to say more important, is theirusefulness as friends.In Smith College this distinction is marked by theCollege authorities in an interesting and valuablemanner. In the library building there is a room forstudy. It is furnished with a number of plain oak orwalnut tables and with chairs which do not invite torepose. There are librarians present to get fromthe stacks the special books which the studentneeds. The room is barren of ornament. Each
student is hard at —work examining, comparing,collating. She is to be called on to-morrow in classto tell what she has learned, or next week to handin a thesis the product of her study. All eyes areintent upon the allotted task; no one looks up tosee you when you enter. In the same building isanother room which I will call The Lounge, though Ithink it bears a different name. The books are uponshelves around the wall and all are within easyreach. Many of them are fine editions. A wood fireis burning in the great fireplace. The room isfurnished with sofas and easy chairs. No one is atwork. No one is talking. No! but they are listening—listening to authors whose voices have long sincebeen silent in death.In every home there ought to be books that arefriends. In every day, at least in every week, thereought to be some time which can be spent incultivating their friendship. This is reading, andreading is very different from study.The student has been at work all the morning withhis tools. He has been studying a question ofConstitutional Law: What are the powers of thePresident of the United States? He has examinedthe Constitution; then Willoughby or Watson on theConstitution; then he turns to The Federalist; thenperhaps to the Constitutional debates, or to thehistories, such as Von Holst's Constitutional Historyof the United States, or to treatises, such asBryce's American Commonwealth. He comparesthe different opinions, weighs them, deliberates,endeavors to reach a decision. Wearied with his
morning pursuit of truth through a maze ofconflicting theories, he puts his tools by and goesto dinner. In the evening he sits down in the samelibrary for an hour with his friends. He selects hisfriend according to his mood. Macaulay carries himback across the centuries and he lives for an hourwith The Puritans or with Dr. Samuel Johnson.Carlyle carries him unharmed for an hour throughthe exciting scenes of the French Revolution; or hechuckles over the caustic humor of Thackeray'ssemi-caricatures of English snobs. With JonathanSwift as a guide he travels with Gulliver into no-man's land and visits Lilliput or Brobdingnag; orOliver Goldsmith enables him to forget thestrenuous life of America by taking him to "TheDeserted Village." He joins Charles Lamb's friends,listens to the prose-poet's reveries on Dream-Children, then closes his eyes and falls into areverie of his own childhood days; or he spends anhour with Tennyson, charmed by his alwaysmusical but not often virile verse, or with Browning,inspired by his always virile but often rugged verse,or with Milton or Dante, and forgets this worldaltogether, with its problems and perplexities,convoyed to another realm by these spiritualguides; or he turns to the autobiography of one ofthe great men of the past, telling of hisachievements, revealing his doubts and difficulties,his self-conflicts and self-victories, and so inspiringthe reader to make his own life sublime. Or one ofthe great scientists may interpret to him thewonders of nature and thrill him with theachievements of man in solving some of the riddlesof the universe and winning successive mastery
over its splendid forces.It is true that no dead thing is equal to a livingperson. The one afternoon I spent in John G.Whittier's home, the one dinner I took withProfessor Tyndall in his London home, the one halfhour which Herbert Spencer gave to me at hisClub, mean more to me than any equal time spentin reading the writings of either one of them. Theseoccasions of personal fellowship abide in thememory as long as life lasts. This I say withemphasis that what I say next may not bemisunderstood—that there is one respect in whichthe book is the best of possible friends. You do notneed to decide beforehand what friend you willinvite to spend the evening with you. When supperis over and you sit down by the evening lamp foryour hour of companionship, you give yourinvitation according to your inclination at the time.And if you have made a mistake, and the friendyou have invited is not the one you want to talk to, you can "shut him up"and not hurt his feelings.Remarkable is the friend who speaks only whenyou want to listen and can keep silence when youwant silence. Who is there who has not beensometimes bored by a good friend who went ontalking when you wanted to reflect on what he hadalready said? Who is there who has not had hispatience well nigh exhausted at times by a friendwhose enthusiasm for his theme appeared to bequite inexhaustible? A book never bores youbecause you can always lay it down before itbecomes a bore.