Ways of reading

Always read with a pen in hand. The pen should be used both to mark the text you want to remember and to write from where the text leaves you. Think of the text as the starting point for your own words.


Reading and writing are not discrete activities; they occur on a continuum, with reading at one end, writing at the other. The best readers spend their time somewhere in between.


Reading must occur everyday, but it is not just any daily reading that will do. The day’s reading must include at minimum a few lines whose principal intent is to be beautiful—words composed as much for the sake of their composition as for the meaning they convey.


A good reader reads attentively, not only listening to what the writer says, but also to how she says it. This is how a reader learns to write.


If a book bores you, or tells you things you already know, or is not beautiful, do not hesitate to discard it. There are better books awaiting you, just around the bend.


Every book alights a path to other books. Follow these paths as far as you can. This is how you build a library.


A single book struggles to balance on its spine; it pines for neighbors. Keep as many books as you have room for.


Read voraciously, many books at a time. Only then will you hear the conversation taking place among them.


The best library contains both books you have read, and books you have not. The latter should grow in proportion as the library expands. A working library is as much a place for the possible as it is a record of the past.