The sheer scope of essayists is overwhelming, from historic to contemporary. Leonard Bernstein, William F. Buckley, Benjamin Carson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Newt Gingrich, Helen Hayes, Robert Heinlein, Helen Keller, John McCain, Colin Powell, Jackie Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem, Andrew Sullivan, John Updike, and dozens more.
While no one entry can begin to encapsulate the vast range represented by the whole, MR thought that Rick Moody’s entry, “The Joy and Enthusiasm of Reading,” was particularly appropriate to this forum, and I have to agree. I’ll quote just the first paragraph; you’ll have to pick up the book for the rest an experience I doubt you’ll regret in the least. (Or I suppose you could read the whole thing at NPR’s website and hear Moody himself reading it as well. But I still say pick up the whole book.)
I believe in the absolute and unlimited liberty of reading. I believe in wandering through the stacks and picking out the first thing that strikes me. I believe in choosing books based on the dust jacket. I believe in reading books because others dislike them or find them dangerous. I believe in choosing the hardest book imaginable. I believe in reading up on what others have to say about this difficult book, and then making up my own mind.So how do your individual philosophies and we’ll limit it to reading philosophies for the moment compare with Moody’s (either this brief excerpt or the entire piece)? Anyone care to venture your own essay (or mini-essay)?