A favorite quote on reading, from Francis Bacon (1561-1626):
Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them: for they teach not their own use: but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man. And therefore if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.
Another favorite quote from Bacon:
Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est. (Knowledge itself is power.)
More quotes from Bacon here.
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On my reading list
- Rereading Lacey Baldwin Smith’s The Elizabeth World, which picks up (more or less) where Manchester’s A World Lit Only by Fire leaves off. (See this week’s post on Erasmus.)