David Bentley Hart on reading books
A friend recently drew my attention to Hart's new article on First Things, which made for amusing reading. Here he discusses his reading neurosis:
"Admittedly, this last judgment is based upon only a partial sampling of the work. I am, by nature, a neurotic "completist"; I feel I must finish any book I begin, no matter how great a torment it turns out to be. But I have to confess that, in two attempts to get through The Spiral Ascent, my will has proved unequal to the task. On both occasions, there came a point (and roughly the same point) at which the poor laboring beast of my attention span lay down in the dust and mulishly refused to move forward another inch, no matter how savagely I cursed and flogged it. Thereafter, I merely skimmed through the final pages, simply to confirm for myself that life—even a life as protracted as, say, Edward Upward's—is not long enough to make room for such an ordeal. Others, however, have found the books more inviting than I, and perhaps my failure to follow Upward's tale to the end bespeaks something shallow and dilettantish in my nature"