Through Others' Eyes

David Mills on the Limited Virtues of Reading

The hush of the library, like the hush of the museum and the concert hall, suggests that something spiritual—something personally transformative—is going on. People who read seriously want to believe that reading changes us, makes us better, that it isn't just a form of entertainment or a simple skill useful for getting something done. For us, it is more like a mystic experience than like watching television or learning to wire a house or sink a putt.

As C. S. Lewis explained in one of his last books, An Experiment in Criticism, reading brings "true readers" like himself an "enormous extension of our being." Someone who doesn't read "may be full . . .

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