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The City Itehizer.
H. A. LEE. Editor “Devoted to the Interest of the Editor, Exclusively.>D $1.00 Yeiil VOLUME, 16. WATER VALLEY, MlSS., OCTOBER 21, 1909, NUMBER 3. *_ ■ - -. .----—.- -.—. The Joys of Good Books. It is a rare thing nowadays, arid it seems to become more and more rare, for lis to find a boy or girl who reads and enjoys the best literature, It is nut hard to find hundreds, even thousands, who read a good deal and enjoy what they read. But when we look at what they read—the shallow, in* eipid; and sentimental magazine story, or, worse, the vulgar, pas sionate, sometimes immoral nov el—it becomes with us a serious question whether or not it would be better for them not to read at all. ... M M sit , - I How few people, especially young people, know the real joy of reading! If the taste for good literature has been properly culti vated, there is more pleasure to be gotten from a noble work of genius and art, though it be only a short poem, than in volumes of trashy modern literature. What novel of the past ten years, for instance, can be compared in the cultured mind to Burn’s “A Man’s a Man for A’ That,” or to Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar,” or to Gray s immortal “Elegy, or to Holmes “Chambered Nautilus,” or to Longfellow’s “Psalm of Lite i The novels are read and forgotten; the poems are read and reread and remembered as long as memory lasts. There is an old and often-told story of a noted painter who when asked what he mixed his colors with replied laconically: “With brains.’’ It is the same way with % rolling. To get the greatest joy reading one must mix it „„„„ brains.” We are not doing s when we cultivate taste for V read only the shallow novels of the present day or the colorless fiction of the magazines; when we read, read, read all the time we can spare for such pursuits and take no time for thought aud medita tion on what we have read-; or when we merely pick up a book, as large numbers of people do, and read only fur the passing interest which it may have for us, or to till up an hour when v.e can find noth ing else to do. We can never in the highest sense enjoy our read ing until we learn to read and appreciate great books; and we can never appreciate great books until we have a serious purpose in life arid are willing and anxious to learn all that they may teach ns. It is not the number of books we read, but the quality; it is not even what we read always, but how we read it. And it is only when we can begin to look upon a book -as a friend, as a friend with whoso every feature we are famil iar, as a friend that will teach us something and will share with us alike our joys and our sorrows, that we begin to get true and en nobling pleasure, the greatest ot all pleasures, out of our reading: and, like the poet’s, “Our hearts in glad surprise To higher levels rise.” “Fiction has its uses,” says a writer; “but its abuse leads to the destruction of intellectual vigor and literary taste and soon defeats the chief end of reading.” Even the voracious novel reader becomes so sated with heroes and heroines and thrilling incidents and intri cate plots, that he finally leaches the point where he reads novels more because it is a habit than be cause of any pleasure that he might get from them. With the devotee of nobler literature such is never the case. Is it a famous novel? Well and good. If he has never read it before, he opens it with delighted anticipation; if he has read it before, he turns to it as an old but ever-new friend. Is it a poem? What though it be a perfectly familiar one? The very title of it thrills him with pleasure. Is it a volume of essays or a history? Here are the no blest thoughts of the noblest men and the records of the world’s greatest deeds and movements. YYTiat though the storm roar with out? Though the biting north winds howl about the house and the snow fall in flurries on the lawn? YVithin all is joy and peace and com fort, and we turn with n sigh of gratitude and new appreciation to our books as we realize more fully than ever that the poet knew the truth when he sang: “And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day Shall fold their tents like the Arabs* And as silently steal away.'. It is in the spiing of youth that the taste for great books must be gin to develop, Make the boy and girl familiar with the best thoughts of the best writers; teach theiij to know and to love the greatest; let them grow into the noblest literature as they grow into womanhood and manhood; let them know that good litera ture is ■‘Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as in Apollo's lute,” that thus, by daily association with noble thoughts, they may them selves become nobler and greater, and may learn more and more as the years go by, the joy9 of good books and the beauty of noble thought.—William T. M’Elroy in Children’s Visitor. Manj a life full of promise has been wrecked owing (u the want of a definite aim in life, and the only way to insure success is to determine upon a certain line of action, to have an ultimate ohject in view, and to make every effort to reach the goal and secure the prize.—Ex. /