Quality, not Quantity, in Reading

‘And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham’d of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at school, I took Cocker’s book of Arithmetick, and went through the whole by myself with great ease.    I also read Seller’s and Shermy’s books of Navigation, and became acquainted with the little geometry they contain…While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood’s), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur’d Xenophon’s Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method.   I was charm’d with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter.’

Benjamin Franklin, from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin



‘Being well-read isn’t as much about how many books you read but is [about] the quality of your reading.’


M_____ Bullard, from a written narration of How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

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4 thoughts on “Quality, not Quantity, in Reading

    1. We started school on this past Monday. As I just posted, the weeks have been buzzzzz–y! I have about 2-1/2 more weeks to go with my own class, and then my time should free up a little bit, at least for a few weeks. I will start teaching another class on Wednesday nights this fall for 5 weeks, but I’ll have some windows to (hopefully) post a few thoughts and happenings. Blessings!

  1. Sigh, yes. Quality. We had to read Ben Franklin’s autobiography in 5th grade. I thought I would die from boredom with that book… just shows us how dumbed down we have become. Ahem. I should say how dumbed down I, Sally, have become. I am happy to report, however, than I read it again more recently and actually understood it and even enjoyed it.

    I’d love to just burn all the fluff books in my house… I have a theory that that stuff makes the Bible uninteresting to our kids. 🙁

    1. You’re right about being dumbed down. I read A Tale of Two Cities in high school, and it put me to sleep! Now reading it to our kids, I actually look forward to what will happen each day. I don’t know how much our daughter is gaiining from either Tale of Two Cities or the Autobiography. Both are moving too slow for her. She says about Tale of Two Cities, “I just can’t get into it!” Oh, well, I pray for Holy Ghost recall if ever she needs it. Funny, when I read the 1st lines of the book, ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…,’ which she’s heard numerous times, she said, “Why’d they start the book with that?” I had to explain to her that the quote was originally from Tale of Two Cities, and all those Disney/ Nickelodeon scripts were pretenders! There is something to be said for cultural literacy, that’s for sure!

      I’ve not experienced the Bible being uninteresting here, but I agree with you on the fluff. If I weren’t too financially tight, I’d get rid of most of what we own and fill the house with more of what I’m now borrowing from our library. We go a simple route with Bible study here–the story, then “What happened?”, then “What is God saying to us?” Short, but oh, so sweet on most days.

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