Monday, July 17, 2017

Books to be Tasted

“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….”  –Francis Bacon

Why do you read? Why do any of us read? Is it to jump into another world, to grow your mind, or for another reason entirely? I haven't been reading as much as I normally do. Without a lot of time in my car this summer, I didn't gorge on audiobooks. And since I was out of town a lot or trying to actually be a productive writer, I didn't get many "real" books from the library. I don't like it. I feel lost without a book to chew on.

I spotted the quote above as I was reading through Colorado's state English Language Arts standards. It speaks to me because I have always enjoyed books of all types: those that are tasted, swallowed, or chewed and digested. The last really chewy book I read was For Whom the Bell Tolls. I want to find another classic like that to dive into.

I am "tasting" a book right now: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas. I haven't quite decided if it's truly to my taste, but it came on a recommendation from a bookish friend I trust. When it comes to book I gulp up, the answer is Beauty by Robin McKinley, hands down. I'm not reading each of these books to give my mind a good workout–I like to read a variety of genres to keep things interesting.

What do you think of Francis Bacon's quote? Do you think we should read with such lofty goals in mind?

Michelle is in Week Two of her teacher's seminar, and even though it's only Monday, her brain is already exploding with information.

1 comment:

  1. First off, everything is better with Bacon.

    Some classics I enjoy:

    “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck. A historical fiction set in pre-World War 1 China. It is snapshot of a time and place most Westerners have ever explored.

    I love John Steinbeck’s books. His novels tend to show the darker side of humanity, but there is often a touch of wry humor. One of my favorites is “Cannery Row”. I am also fond of “East of Eden”, “The Winter of our Discontent” and “The Grapes of Wrath”. One of his nonfiction books I enjoy is “Travels with Charlie” he chronicles a cross-country trip with his dog Charlie. I have read most of his books, though I have reserved a few. Every decade I’ll read a “new” one.

    There are several American authors that explore different slices of life in American history. Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”. Sinclair Lewis’ “Main Street” and “Babbit”. I would also check out Ole Edvart Rølvaag’s “Giants in the Earth.” All of these books tend to be a bit bleak, but I think they are vital glimpses into the parts of history that are often overlooked.

    You might want to check out Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" is an interesting read, but not everyone's cup of tea. I met Mr. Solzhenitsyn; he had been exiled from the USSR and had taken up residence in Vermont.

    I’m sure if I rooted around in my memory, I could come up with a few more.

    Speaking of books to digest. Our downstairs neighbor (an expat from France) gave me her French cookbooks. I’ll have fun translating and preparing a few dishes, though one mistranslated word could lead to an international incident.