reat reads:

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IELTS exam tips





Go for it: read!

Let us make a deal: I will never recommend to you an important book if it is boring, and in exchange you will not decide that anything old is sounding like school and has to be dull. Keep an open mind.

About the following illustration: I thought you would be tired of seeing the Reader from Fragonard (if you do not know it, google its image: it is a beautiful thing). So I picked up a painting from my youth. This is the vision of a reader by Antoine Wiertz, a romantic Belgian painter with a spirit like Edgar Allan Poe. Notice the awkward position of the woman, and the hand of a thief on the left, apparently stealing a book. You can see this at the Wiertz Museum in Brussels.The photo was taken by Jeffery Howe and I found it here

July 17: I added a page on themes/intelligent books

How many books should you read?

The jetset of literary gurus often says that there are only 5,000 good books worth reading, or classic books for the whole history of the whole world. If it is the case, it is not too bad: reading two books a week, you could have access to everything essential in about 50 years.
It does not work that way. First, a number of great books are very boring. Take Xenophon, for instance, one the most stupid writers in history (Bertrand Russell thought that too and unlike me, he did not have to translate it in college). Unless you are a war buff, you can pass the Anabasis and no harm done. On the other end, if you never read Dr Seuss, even if you are past reading kids books, you missed a good time: pleasure is as important as philosophy!
Also, there is a problem with poetry: it does not translate well because it is made of sounds and rhythms. So, Li Bai's books will remain in China and Guido Gezelle's books of poetry will stay in Flemish country, unless you open yourself to another language. So with just a thousand books, you are going to be fine. And if you do not have such a large appetite, just look for the three stars books or people (***) in my lists: I try to have no more than one or two per page.

Buy anything from Amazon here, it does not cost you more, and it helps me.