Some people read for instruction, and some for pleasure,
but not a few read from habit. I belong to that company. Let
us admit that reading with us is just a drug that we cannot
get along without.
Books are necessary to me and I never travel far without
enough reading matter.
But when I am starting on a long journey, the problem is really great. I have learnt my lesson. Once I fell ill in a small town in Java and had to stay in bed for three months. I came to the end of all the books I had brought with me and knowing no Dutch had to buy the schoolbooks from which intelligent Javanese, I suppose, got knowledge of French and German. So I read again after
twenty-five years the plays of Goethe, the fables of La Fontaine
and the tragedies of Racine. I have the greatest admiration
for Racine, but I admit that to read his plays one after the
other requires a certain effort in a person who is ill. Since
then I have made a point of travelling with a large sack full
of books for every possible occasion and every mood.
There are books of all kinds, Volumes of verse, novels,
philosophical works, critical studies (they say books about
books are useless, but they certainly make very pleasant
reading), biographies, history; there are books to read when
you are ill and books to read when your brain wants
something to work at; there are books that you have always
wanted to read but in the hurry of life at home have never
found time to; there are books to read at sea; there are
books for bad weather; there are books chosen solely for
their length, which you take along when you have to travel
light, and there are the books you can read when you can
read nothing else.
1. Why do some people read books?
2. What is reading?
3. Why are books necessary?
4. Who do you have the greatest admiration for?
5. Why did the author of the text make a point of travelling
with a large sack full of books?
6. What books are there?