The art of being wise

The summer reading list continues to grow, as it tends in June to do. Time still seems long. That’s an illusion, of course, but for now a nurturing one. So I’m going to add a couple more titles that came to me just yesterday.

First, to allay my guilt at spending more time browsing cheap old McKay’s than Ann Patchett’s rich new Parnassus, her State of Wonder. There’s a practical point to this one, for me, aside from its blurbed promise to be “perfect from first page to last.” It also addresses issues in bioethics, as I’ll be doing in the coming Spring semester. So this one’s class prep.

Second, speaking of the Amazon (and again, offending Independent Booksellers everywhere): all of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books have now been made available for free, for Amazon Prime members. Older Daughter’s long been pestering me to read them, so Sorcerer’s Stone [Philosopher’s Stone, it should be] now awaits my selective attention on the Kindle.

Plate’s full, I must stop visiting the buffet. James’s analogy in Principles of Psychology may be helpful:

As the art of reading (after a certain stage in one’s education) is the art of skipping, so the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. (Volume 2, “Reasoning”)

That applies to personal foibles as much as to books and reading, of course. We all have much to overlook.


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