ON READERS AND BOOKS
By HENRY VAN DYKE
T HERE are readers and readers. For purposes of convenience they may be divided into three classes. First, there is the "simple reader"—the ordinary book-consumer of commerce. He reads without any particular purpose or intention, chiefly in order to occupy his spare time. He has formed the habit and it pleases him. He does not know much about literature, but he says he knows what he likes. All is fish that comes to his net. Curiosity and fashion play a large part in directing his reading. He is an easy prey for the loud-advertising bookseller. He seldom reads a book the second time, except when he forgets that he has read it before. For a reader in this stage of evolution the most valuable advice (if, indeed, any counsel may be effectual) is chiefly of a negative character. Do not read vulgar books, silly books, morbid books. Do not read books that are written in bad English. Do not read books simply because other people are reading them. Do not read more than five new books to one old one. Next comes the "intelligent reader"—the person who wants to know, and to whom books are valuable chiefly for the accuracy of the information which they convey. He reads with the definite purpose of increasing his acquaintance with facts. Memory is his most valuable faculty. He is ardent in the following of certain lines of investigation; he is apt to have a specialty, and to think highly of its importance. He is inclined to take notes and to make analyses. This particular reader is the one to whom lists of books and courses of reading are most useful. Miss Repplier makes light of them as "Cook's Tours in Literature," but the reader whose main interest is the increase of knowledge is often very glad to be "personally conducted" through a new region of books.