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Where the Rod Begins to Tremble

April 16, 2011


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This is a far cry from my idealism at age twenty, when I longed to read everything, simply because it was written, like adventurers who climb Mount Everest because it is there. Other sensationalists must sample everything edible or try every feasible sexual posture, however slimy or arduous, respectively. Thus do they assure themselves they have truly lived. No experience has passed them by, as if exhaustiveness were the measure of the good life.

Gradually I lost, or shed, the Mount Everest syndrome. Bookshelves still tease and tantalize, but like a woman with a divining rod, I know now where the water will be, I do not have to scrape earth and dig holes seeking, only there where the rod begins to tremble.

-Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Ruined by Reading

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2011 4:34 am

    It’s a wonderful quote. Thanks.

  2. April 16, 2011 9:46 am

    I like this! Now I need to find her book…

  3. April 16, 2011 10:11 am

    What a beautiful quote – kind of melancholy in a way, but still beautiful – especially accompanying that picture!

  4. April 16, 2011 2:43 pm

    She worded some of my middle aged thoughts so beautifully! Thanks for bringing her to my attention.

  5. April 16, 2011 8:11 pm

    So here’s a thought Eva – how do you think this quote applies to YOUR reading tendencies?!

    • April 18, 2011 4:51 pm

      I’d say I’m still in my 20s. ;) More seriously, I find that this year I am focusing more on the types of books that I expect to enjoy and especially on reading more by authors I’ve loved in the past. However, I’m still trying out quite a few new authors, which doesn’t always go well. It’s a balancing act!

  6. April 17, 2011 1:19 am

    Fascinating. It really made me think about my approach to book purchasing – which is definitely excessive and I am perhaps not as discriminating as I could be. Have you read Ruined by Reading? I would love to know what it’s about/what it’s like

    • April 18, 2011 4:53 pm

      I have read it! (All of the quotes I post are from books I’ve read.) Here’s my brief post about it.

  7. April 17, 2011 6:37 am

    Fantastic quote! And so true :)

  8. April 18, 2011 7:37 am

    Must find. Must read.

  9. April 18, 2011 6:00 pm

    wonderful quote eva ,and great picture ,all the best stu

  10. April 18, 2011 6:00 pm

    wonderful quote eva ,and great picture ,all the best stu

  11. April 20, 2011 5:48 am

    WOW! This is an incredible quote. It really sings to where I am in life, right now. Thank you so much for this!

  12. April 21, 2011 9:18 am

    My philosophy is to resist the lure of this quotation. Because you really are old when you close yourself off to too much possibility.

  13. April 23, 2011 7:36 pm

    Interesting quote! I think I’m nearly at this stage now…I can tell when something is really going to speak to me. I do still try out things that I’m not sure I will like, but in the main I know I have limited time and don’t feel obliged to pick up all the hot new titles everyone’s on about. I like to spend my reading time finding an author who can strike that special note with my interests and tastes.

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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