By Arthur Elmore Bostwick
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Where one man knew and loved Shakespeare a century ago, a thousand know and love him to-day. The literary blood is circulating and in so doing is giving life to the body politic. In thus wearing itself out the book is creating a public appreciation that makes itself felt in a demand for reprinting, hence worthy books are surer of perpetuation in this swirling current than they were in the old time reservoir. But besides these books whose literary life is continuous, though their paper and binding may wear out, there are other books that vanish utterly.
In a large number of cases this is doubtless due to a feeling that one “ought to read” certain books and certain classes of books. A sense of duty carries the reader part way through his task, but he weakens before he has finished it. This shows how necessary it is to stimulate one’s general interest in a subject before advising him to read a book that is not itself calculated to arouse and sustain that interest. Possibly the modern newspaper habit, with its encouragement of slipshod reading, may play its part in producing the general result, and doubtless a careful detailed investigation would reveal still other partial causes, but the chief and determining cause must be lack of interest.
He says: “Because I like to read the book. ]. Here are some examples of recently acquired elegance in diction that are almost baboo-like in their hopelessness: “Because it interest about the countries that are far away. ” It will be seen that the last two writers were among those who misunderstood our questions and told why they read books rather than how they were first led to the use of a library. These reports are far from possessing merely a passing interest for the curious. For the public librarian, whose wish it is to reach as large a proportion of the public as possible, they are full of valuable hints.