Speaking of Books, The Best Things Ever Said About Books and Book Collecting, edited by Kaplan and Rabinowitz, Crown Publishers, 2001. – I found this book at a thrift store where the books are poorly organized, and just happened to see it out of the corner of my eye as I walked by the shelf.
I have a similar book that I found at a used book store several years ago: Quotable Quotes, The Book Lover, From the Witty to the Weighty, an Inspired Collection of Quotes, Magpie Books (London), 2004.
I love quotes. And quotes about books? All the better!
I wanted to share an Issac Watts quote from the first book:
“If the books which you read are your own, mark with a pen or pencil the most considerable things in them which you desire to remember. Then you may read that book the second time over with half the trouble, by your eye running over the paragraphs which your pencil has noted. It is but a very weak objection against this practice to say, ‘I shall spoil my book’; for I persuade myself that you did not buy it as a bookseller, to sell again for gain, but as a scholar, to improve your mind by it; and if the mind be improved, your advantage is abundant, though your book yields less money to your executors.” Isaac Watts in Logic On the Right use of Reason in the Enquiry after Truth (1724)
Remember that Isaac Watts was an English Christian minister in the 17th century, as well as a theologian, logician, and prolific hymn writer.
I relate to his point about marking key points in books – although I use a highlighter. For me, it is the same benefit – I can grab the book off my shelf at a later date and quickly review its content or find the particular info that I need at the moment. In fact, I was just doing that yesterday with a book on Christology.
Most of my books are non-fiction and educational, and about Christianity. I use my books a lot. It is a common occurrence for me to be working on a teaching/preaching/writing project and go to my shelves to find the appropriate books for the current project. A large stack ends up on the table where I work. The fact that I have previously read and marked some of the books is a huge help.
Every so often I get somewhat…rude…remarks about my books. Why do you have so many books? Ever hear of a library? People can be aghast by multiple book shelves. Have you read all these books? Etc. Well, I use my books. They don’t collect dust. Many of my books could not be found at a public library. As Watts said above, I possess books as a scholar, to learn and improve my mind. I don’t want my mind to collect dust either…
Have you gotten out of the habit of stimulating your mind? It is common. After graduating from school, many cease to read or exercise their mind. You are not alone.
It is not too late to get your mind back in shape!
Here is an article I wrote in 2014: Challenge yourself to learn new things! It has some practical ideas and encouragement.