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chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

an entire six month long thread based around trying to teach one dude to read like a grownup is overpoweringly depressing to me

chernobyl kinsman fucked around with this message at 04:43 on Apr 4, 2019

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Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Think of all the dudes who aren't even interested in learning. I find it an uplifting thread.

CestMoi
Sep 16, 2011



chernobyl kinsman posted:

an entire six month long thread based around trying to teach one dude to read like a grownup is overpoweringly depressing to me

if it's any consolation the people trying to teach him are also unbearably stupid

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


How long before it becomes comedy? 9 months? 12? 69?

And you don't have to stay chernobyl I won't hold it against you.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

OscarDiggs posted:

I can't find the absolute perfect example I was sure I bookmarked from the actual lit thread, so I'll have to reach back a little.

So, when I first read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that was a fun, little, silly jaunt following a young boys adventures. Nothing earth shattering, nothing life changing. Just, a little bit of fun which also counted as a lit work.

But, apparently there are all these themes here. From the sparknotes you yourself suggested to me, there's things like;
Society’s Hypocrisy. I mean sure, looking back, there were plenty of scenes with the Aunt that highlighted that, especially at the beginning and when they turned up to their own funeral.
Superstition. I only saw young kids telling each other ghost stories but it's supposedly a whole theme.
Freedom vs Social Exclusion. Again, obvious in retrospect with Huck Finn and all, but not something at the time I saw as a whole theme.

It's sort of like, everyone else is looking at a Painting and going “What a masterpiece, look at the brushwork! It's depiction of 18th Century counting houses as a metaphor for growing reliance on foreign corn is inspired!” and I'm looking at the same painting and going “Oh those birds are so pretty! And those trees! Are they oak trees? I love oak trees!”

Just, the sheer deficit in my ability to absorb things beyond surface detail is astounding. And again, what I talked about above are just things that are slightly obvious in retrospect. According to the Sparknotes page there is a ton more going on beneath the surface that I may as well have been blind to. I mean, what's even the point of reading a book if I'm only getting a fifth of what the author intended to get across?

In recent memory, a book I was understanding the whole time? No. I could relate to you the broad narrative and what was happening in the story? What any of that means at a deeper level? Not a chance.


Next time, I swear.


Lemme chip in here for a sec; couple points:

because I actually I have a Reading Philosophy to share

it's pretentious and absurd but it's mine

1) You might have seen me post "Read as thou wilt is the whole of the law" a few times. It's a parodic restatement of Aleister Crowley's "Love as thou wilt" which he claimed was the summary of all occult magic (convenient if you think magic means fuckin' a lot).

The larger point though carries through; if you're gonna read a book, that act of reading is a personal act between you and the book. You get to judge it yourself, and you don't have to listen to anyone else if you don't want to. That experience should be pleasurable, because if it isn't pleasurable, why are you doing it? How do you expect to keep doing it if it's a painful experience? Nobody would. Anybody who isn't having at least some degree of fun reading isn't going to keep reading over the long term.


2) Every living person is going to approach a given book slightly differently, if not radically differently, from every other person, because each of us reads through the lens of our own individual experiences, training, insights, etc. The corollary of this is that it is therefore impossible to read a book and "catch everything," just like it would be impossible for one person to write all of Wikipedia. Conversely, though, the more experiences and training and knowledge you have, the more you will get out of each successive book you have read, because you will bring all that accumulated knowledge and experience and insight and training to bear on each successive book you read. Almost every book you could possibly read has something you could learn from it (even if it's just an example of what not to do, ever, in writing a book).

These two precepts form a loop. The first step in being a better reader is being a reader who takes pleasure in what you're reading. Find your own level and your own preferences. Once you've done that, just keep reading. The more you enjoy reading the more you will read and the more practice you'll get reading. AS you get more practice, you'll get better at reading and you'll read with more and more insight. As you get better at reading and have more insight, you'll enjoy reading more and more, which will encourage you to practice more, which will increase your reading ability, etc. and so forth and so on.

Franchescanado posted:


However, it was a book club book. We started going through the stories one by one, and as we went over the broad stories, and then the details, themes started to emerge. "Oh, this woman walks alone at night. There's a lot of isolation here. There's a constant threat, being a woman alone at night, of violence or sexual assault, that she just inherently has to deal with to continue her walks. Oh, there was that one line about how she resents her children. Oh, and this line is how her husband is supportive of her, and yet she resents him as well. And she can't connect with anyone. Oh yeah, she watches all these people in their houses as she walks, she sees them change over time, she knows them, but she hasn't even talked to them. She's a voyeur, in a way..." And all this spit-balling and mulling over the details, a bigger picture of isolation and resentment and a fear of the world around us, they all emerge. It's not an epiphany, or an "aha!" moment. It's the opposite. It's a meditation. It's a discourse. It's me or someone else asking a question and then trying to find the answer with the knowledge we have of the text.

It's really helpful to have someone else with you to bounce off these ideas, or provide other insights you might not get yourself, which is why I mention a book club. Book of the Month threads can, when there's enough readers, provide some of these insights. Even an online book club, even this own thread, could provide the discourse necessary to start cracking these conundrums for you.


Yes please read the Book of the Month with us and we can all share book talk together, this month it's a fairly light and fun one that still has neat things to discuss

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 13:29 on Apr 4, 2019

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Yes please read the Book of the Month with us and we can all share book talk together, this month it's a fairly light and fun one that still has neat things to discuss

Okay, fairly light and fun, but with neat things sounds right up my alley.

Sorry to disappoint Mel Mudkipper, and Vyelkin.

Mel Mudkiper
Jan 19, 2012

I think this is a pretty good draft class overall. It's really shaping up that way because of the water types.


I would say something but SOMEONE is a little antsy on the probate button *points at own eyes, then at Hieronymous*

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

OscarDiggs posted:


Sorry to disappoint Mel Mudkipper, and Vyelkin.

You can read those too!

There are lots of books I tried to read when I was really young, they went waaaay over my head and were way, way too difficult for me at the time. (For example, I tried to read John Gardner's Grendel at like eight because my dad told me that the guy who wrote The Hobbit also wrote about Beowulf, Beowulf was really hard and a poem, ok, this seems easier it's in prose . . .).

Some of those I just "powered through" and read anyway; some I abandoned and came back to years later, some I did both. In retrospect, I think all of those were good choices. It's important to find your level and it's important to try to push beyond your level both. The stuff Mel and Vyelkin recommended is all great and worth tackling when you feel ready for it or even when you don't.

Just don't make it a chore -- think of it like exercise, you want it to be fun so you keep doing it consistently, but you also want a challenge so you grow and get more fit, and the trick is finding the balance.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

If I had waited to be 'ready' to read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Gravity's Rainbow, I'd have never read them. I didn't understand a lot of them, but now I'm a better reader for having read them.

And I also read other stuff at the same time. Hemingway short stories, poems; stuff with lighter prose.

Sometimes it's nice to push yourself, sometimes it's nice to read a pulp novel. Variety is the spice of reading.

But I agree with CestMoi, I am unbearably stupid.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Gotta goonsay you Hieronymus but you didn't quote Crowley as much as paraphrase the Law of Thelema. "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law. Love is the law; love under will."

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Bilirubin posted:

Gotta goonsay you Hieronymus but you didn't quote Crowley as much as paraphrase the Law of Thelema. "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law. Love is the law; love under will."



Franchescanado posted:

If I had waited to be 'ready' to read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Gravity's Rainbow, I'd have never read them. I didn't understand a lot of them, but now I'm a better reader for having read them.

And I also read other stuff at the same time. Hemingway short stories, poems; stuff with lighter prose.

Sometimes it's nice to push yourself, sometimes it's nice to read a pulp novel. Variety is the spice of reading.

But I agree with CestMoi, I am unbearably stupid.


I would never classify Portrait near GR. In comparison its a relatively straightforward coming of age story, in which Stephan Daedalus slowly crawls up his own rear end.
lol quote is not edit

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Bilirubin posted:



I would never classify Portrait near GR. In comparison its a relatively straightforward coming of age story, in which Stephan Daedalus slowly crawls up his own rear end.
lol quote is not edit

It's not, but I read it when I was 17 or 18, and it was a pretty big leap from To Kill A Mockingbird and The Glass Menagerie. There are plenty of people that consider A Portrait as unreadable, probably because they never get past the narrator's childhood.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Franchescanado posted:

If I had waited to be 'ready' to read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Gravity's Rainbow, I'd have never read them. I didn't understand a lot of them, but now I'm a better reader for having read them.

And I also read other stuff at the same time. Hemingway short stories, poems; stuff with lighter prose.

Sometimes it's nice to push yourself, sometimes it's nice to read a pulp novel. Variety is the spice of reading.

But I agree with CestMoi, I am unbearably stupid.

Oh yeah. I've told this story before, but I was "fortunate" in that I tried to read GR when I was about twelve years old because my dad's version of sex ed was to leave "dirty books" lying around the house where I could find them. I got some weird ideas. But I read books, so I can't really say it was a bad strategy

I was of course not remotely ready for GR. It kinda broke me at the time. I technically "read" it because my eyes moved across the pages but I didn't get much other than a few weeks spent in an emotional state that today we'd describe with an exploding psyduck emjoi. I've re-read it once or twice since. I'm not sure i'll ever really be "ready" for it, it's just a challenge I have to throw myself against every so often.

One of my big regrets is that back in college I didn't take the semester-long course in Ulysses where all they did was read Ulysses together with a concordance and notes, day by day, collectively.

vyelkin
Jan 2, 2011

Jozy loves scoring like a fat kid loves eating cake.



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

One of my big regrets is that back in college I didn't take the semester-long course in Ulysses where all they did was read Ulysses together with a concordance and notes, day by day, collectively.

I took a class like this on War and Peace once. It was good.

It would have angered Sham bam bamina though because the famous Tolstoy scholar who taught the class used the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Oh yeah. I've told this story before, but I was "fortunate" in that I tried to read GR when I was about twelve years old because my dad's version of sex ed was to leave "dirty books" lying around the house where I could find them. I got some weird ideas. But I read books, so I can't really say it was a bad strategy

I was of course not remotely ready for GR. It kinda broke me at the time. I technically "read" it because my eyes moved across the pages but I didn't get much other than a few weeks spent in an emotional state that today we'd describe with an exploding psyduck emjoi. I've re-read it once or twice since. I'm not sure i'll ever really be "ready" for it, it's just a challenge I have to throw myself against every so often.

One of my big regrets is that back in college I didn't take the semester-long course in Ulysses where all they did was read Ulysses together with a concordance and notes, day by day, collectively.

I read Daniel Handler's Watch Your Mouth at 16, which was hosed up. I can't imagine being a 12 year old reading the Brigadier Pudding poo poo-eating BDSM sex scene.

Srice
Sep 11, 2011



Gravity's Rainbow is a v good example of something that can be enjoyed despite not "getting" a lot of it... I might be dumb and so much of it flew over my head but heck I can think back to some of the simpler things like Slothrop eating some British candies, and smile.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Srice posted:

Gravity's Rainbow is a v good example of something that can be enjoyed despite not "getting" a lot of it... I might be dumb and so much of it flew over my head but heck I can think back to some of the simpler things like Slothrop eating some British candies, and smile.

Slothrop eating British candy is one of the funniest things I've read. I'm that weirdo that laughs out loud reading a book, and that scene had me cracking up.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Franchescanado posted:

I read Daniel Handler's Watch Your Mouth at 16, which was hosed up. I can't imagine being a 12 year old reading the Brigadier Pudding poo poo-eating BDSM sex scene.

I only really clearly remember two moments from that first attempt: the lightbulb sequence, and trying to look up "coprophagia" in the dictionary, which was a primitive form of google that we had at the time.

Squashing Machine
Jul 5, 2005


Franchescanado posted:

Slothrop eating British candy is one of the funniest things I've read. I'm that weirdo that laughs out loud reading a book, and that scene had me cracking up.

That scene is what I show friends when I try to get them to read GR. I just quietly leave out the poo poo-eating and the fact that the book reads like the world's longest anxiety attack, and this is coming from a guy who got a tattoo based on it

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Squashing Machine posted:

That scene is what I show friends when I try to get them to read GR. I just quietly leave out the poo poo-eating and the fact that the book reads like the world's longest anxiety attack, and this is coming from a guy who got a tattoo based on it

That's a great choice. I think the banana breakfast intro is a really nice section as well. I've read it a couple of times and it always gets me hungry for banana pancakes. But then it goes into the adenoid hallucination... Another section I think is nice to convince people to read GR is the first introduction of Roger Mexico and Jessica Swanlake's affair, with the famous line "They're in love. gently caress the war." Or maybe even the pilots seeing the angel.

As gross and effective as it is, the poo poo eating is relatively brief, and there's plenty of other off-putting sex before and after. The castration scene is longer and more gruesome, if I remember correctly.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Franchescanado posted:

Slothrop eating British candy is one of the funniest things I've read. I'm that weirdo that laughs out loud reading a book, and that scene had me cracking up.

Pointsman Roger and Jessica try to catch a dog

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


I get the core advice; read read read, and read what you enjoy. I have managed to get a look at The Doorbell Rang and what I see looks enjoyable. So thanks for the recommendation Hieronymous!

Franchescanado posted:

the Brigadier Pudding poo poo-eating BDSM sex scene.


Squashing Machine posted:

the poo poo-eating and the fact that the book reads like the world's longest anxiety attack

Franchescanado posted:

The castration scene is longer and more gruesome

And Gravitys Rainbow is a good book, is it? Because I think the metaphor of the poo poo eating is probably one of those things that will go over my head, just a bit.

Srice posted:

Gravity's Rainbow is a v good example of something that can be enjoyed despite not "getting" a lot of it... I might be dumb and so much of it flew over my head but heck I can think back to some of the simpler things like Slothrop eating some British candies, and smile.

We'll have to wait to test your hypothesis a little bit, but maybe later on a few months down the line I may be able to be convinced to give it a try. As it stands I keep putting reading something off, so it's time to read some book of the month.

CestMoi
Sep 16, 2011



Bilirubin posted:

Gotta goonsay you Hieronymus but you didn't quote Crowley as much as paraphrase the Law of Thelema. "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law. Love is the law; love under will."



Thank you, Bilirubin

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

OscarDiggs posted:



And Gravitys Rainbow is a good book, is it? Because I think the metaphor of the poo poo eating is probably one of those things that will go over my head, just a bit.


It's amazing, insane, brilliant, glorious, despicable.

quote:

All three members of the Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction expressed distress and bewilderment yesterday that their unanimous recommendation for a prize for Thomas Pynchon's “Gravity's Rainbow” had been turned down and that no fiction award was given this year.

The three jurors were Benjamin DeMott, professor of English at Amherst College, chairman; Elizabeth Hardwick and Alfred Kazin, all distinguished authors and critics in their own right.

All three said separately yesterday that they were particularly unhappy at having received no explanation for the rejection of their recommendation. Appraised of the jurors’ views, neither Joseph Pulitzer Jr., chairman of the advisory board on the Pulitzer Prizes, nor Prof. John Hohenberg, board secretary, would offer any comment.

However, other members of the 14‐member board, which makes recommendations on the 18 Pulitzer Prize categories in journalism, letters and music after jurors' reports, had described the Pynchon novel during their private debate as “unreadable,” “turgid,” “overwritten” and in parts “obscene.” One member editor said he had tried hard but had only gotten a third of the way through the 760‐page book.


https://www.nytimes.com/1974/05/08/...hird-novel.html

You might want to try Catch-22 first though, as like a warmup.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 17:54 on Apr 4, 2019

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

I've still not read Catch-22. I always forget about it when it comes time to pick the next book.

Mel Mudkiper
Jan 19, 2012

I think this is a pretty good draft class overall. It's really shaping up that way because of the water types.


the scene that always sticks with me from Catch-22 is the guy who has chronic nightmares when he has completed his tour because of the anxiety of knowing they will at some point send him back but who sleeps like a baby when he's actually on tour

CestMoi
Sep 16, 2011



OscarDiggs posted:

And Gravitys Rainbow is a good book, is it? Because I think the metaphor of the poo poo eating is probably one of those things that will go over my head, just a bit.


why do you care

Mel Mudkiper
Jan 19, 2012

I think this is a pretty good draft class overall. It's really shaping up that way because of the water types.


OscarDiggs posted:

I get the core advice; read read read, and read what you enjoy. I have managed to get a look at The Doorbell Rang and what I see looks enjoyable. So thanks for the recommendation Hieronymous!

We'll have to wait to test your hypothesis a little bit, but maybe later on a few months down the line I may be able to be convinced to give it a try. As it stands I keep putting reading something off, so it's time to read some book of the month.

You seem to have this implicit idea that criticality is a "eureka" moment, or an inherent trait some people have

Its a muscle. You become a better reader by reading.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

im loving ripped

Mel Mudkiper
Jan 19, 2012

I think this is a pretty good draft class overall. It's really shaping up that way because of the water types.


chernobyl kinsman posted:

im loving ripped

I am recovering a tear in my symbolism tendon

Bonaventure
Jun 23, 2005



i have gluteal amnesia


from sitting on my rear end and reading so goddamn much!!!!! gently caress!!!!

wizardofloneliness
Dec 30, 2008



I think dividing a book into surface-level and deep-level/what it really means is weird to start with. It’s not like there’s some cipher that will unlock the mystery of the book and tell you what’s really going on. I also don’t entirely understand viewing themes as a separate specific thing that only some books have. Of course Tom Sawyer has themes in it, I have no idea what a book without themes would even look like.

There’s been plenty of books I’ve read that I didn’t initially really understand or get a lot out of but that I also saw other people raving about, so it’s not like I don’t totally understand this viewpoint. But reading for me is always a pleasurable activity first and foremost so it doesn’t really matter that much if I don’t fully comprehend something at first. Who gives a poo poo if I’m “wrong” about something or didn’t get it, it’s not like I have to justify my opinions about it to anyone. Also, I tend to like writing that’s ambiguous and not straightforward because then it’s like I’ve never really finished reading it. “Signs and Symbols” by Nabokov is a good example of this for me. I read it for the first time a while ago and my initial impression was “well I’m not sure I really got what he was going for here but that dude could freakin’ write!” It’s fun.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




Dr. S.O. Feelgood posted:

I think dividing a book into surface-level and deep-level/what it really means is weird to start with. It’s not like there’s some cipher that will unlock the mystery of the book and tell you what’s really going on. I also don’t entirely understand viewing themes as a separate specific thing that only some books have. Of course Tom Sawyer has themes in it, I have no idea what a book without themes would even look like.
Nobody's saying any of this. OscarDiggs wants to understand subtext better, which is more than reasonable.

pleasecallmechrist
Sep 22, 2013

I lack the most basic processes inherent in all living organisms: reproducing and dying.

CestMoi posted:

why do you care

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!



I'm very insecure and the idea that I might not be smart enough to be able to understand these things fills me with a very real sense of dread and makes me want to not even bother trying.

It's like the fear of failing a test, except not only am I taking the test I'm also grading, and drat if I'm letting that fucker who's taking the test pass. Hence why I won't be reading Gravity's Rainbow till I'm sure I can understand it's full nuance. Because otherwise whats the point? Why experience half a something? It's inefficient and a waste of time. If you know you're going to fail the exam why waste 2 hours in the exam hall?

In lighter news, I am really am enjoying "The Doorbell Rang". It's not hard to read and there's plenty of interesting stuff going on. I am still kind of worried I'm not "getting it" fully, but there's enough going on in the narrative that that thought isn't a major distraction.

Unlike in say, The Brothers Karamasov, where there wasn't actually alot going on narratively, and so I ended up getting so sidetracked trying to find "the point" and the themes and stuff, that I would reread the same few pages multiple times, and then just got to bored to try and continue.

CestMoi
Sep 16, 2011



please never refer to reading books in terms of efficiency again

CestMoi
Sep 16, 2011



viewing literature as a test is legitimately dreadful and i get why people get into that mindset because in their education literature actually is a test but you're trying to put numbers on something that at its best is beyond quantification. gravity's rainbow (or any book at all) isn't graded on a bell curve where only those 3 standard deviations above the mean in book understandingness can get 99.7% of the book, the very experience of reading the book is what you get out from it and as long as you have a single thought while reading it congrats you have had an experience with literature.

CestMoi
Sep 16, 2011



imagine watching the sunset and getting worried that you aren't viewing it from every possible angle, or that you don't fully understand the processes that led to its occurrence

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

OscarDiggs posted:

I'm very insecure and the idea that I might not be smart enough to be able to understand these things fills me with a very real sense of dread and makes me want to not even bother trying.

It's like the fear of failing a test, except not only am I taking the test I'm also grading, and drat if I'm letting that fucker who's taking the test pass. Hence why I won't be reading Gravity's Rainbow till I'm sure I can understand it's full nuance. Because otherwise whats the point? Why experience half a something? It's inefficient and a waste of time. If you know you're going to fail the exam why waste 2 hours in the exam hall?

Just because your experience may involve "half" the understanding of a theoretical someone else does not lessen your experience in any capacity.

With this logic, you will never read Gravity's Rainbow, a book that the author himself has joked that he's forgotten the symbolism for more than half the book. Or Ulysses. Or Moby Dick. Or Pride & Prejudice, Grapes of Wrath, Wise Blood, Blood Meridian... Or really any book ever. There's no way for you to ever know if you know enough for it.

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Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

The question also becomes, who are you comparing yourself to?

Will you only read Ulysses or The Dubliners when you know as much as you think James Joyce knew? Will you only read Blood Meridian when you think you're as qualified as Harold Bloom was when he wrote essays for it? Will you only read Charles Dickens when you've read half a dozen textbooks about Victorian England and his biography?

I'm not arguing against supplemental reading. If you're reading a book and something pops up that you don't get or understand, you shouldn't be throwing the book away because you don't know something, you should be googling and researching the answer. That's part of the process.

OR, equally valid, say gently caress it and keep reading anyway until you get back to a point of understanding. That's what everyone else does.

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