Thursday, May 17, 2012

Reading Suggestion

Via the Emerging Scholar Twitter feed there is a link to a free excerpt  from a book called Liberal Arts for the Christian Life edited by Jeff Davis and Philip Ryken.* The excerpt is by Alan Jacobs entitled How to Read a Book. ( Jacobs recently came out w/ a book called The Pleasures of Reading in an Age ofDistraction which I would highly recommend. This excerpt is in a very similar vein.

"Attentiveness is an ethical as well as an intellectual matter; it’s about treating our neighbors as they deserve as much as it’s about getting facts into our heads...Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian polymath who was perhaps the greatest literary theorist of the twentieth century, once commented that in any given conversation the real initiator is the person who listens, not the one who speaks who would ever speak unless he or she believed that someone would be listening? It is the listener who elicits the speech, brings it forth. The speaker counts on a responsive listener. In the same way, a writer counts on a responsive reader...This is what writers want also: for you to “enrich their words” with your own responses....this too is a sign of respect: when I register and explain my disagreement in a book, I demonstrate that I am paying attention and that I care about what the author is saying..."

*I'm not a huge Crossway Press fan. The last two books that I read from this press were pretty lame. This book seems a bit more substantial, esp. considering the editors and even the inclusion of Jacobs in the contents.

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