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On the Choice of Books

Thomas Carlyle

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .It is a great pity, but no man can help it. We are now arrived seemingly pretty near the point when all criticism and proclamation in matters literary has degenerated into an inane jargon, incredible, unintelligible, inarticulate as the cawing of choughs and rooks; and many things in that as in other provinces, are in a state of painful and rapid transition. A good book has no way of recommending itself except slowly and as it were accidentally from hand to hand. The man that wrote it must abide his time. He needs, as indeed all men do, the faith that this world is built not on falsehood and jargon but on truth and reason; that no good thing done by any creature of God was, is, or ever can be lost, but will verily do the service appointed for it, and be found among the general sum-total and all of things after long times, nay after all time, and through eternity itself. Let him 'cast his bread upon the waters,' therefore, cheerful of heart; 'he will find it after many days.'

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Community Reviews

The first 50 pages or so are a brief biography of Carlyle and his life as seen through letters between himself and other and in writings of those who knew him. This section was a bit of an unexpected slog but interesting nonetheless. The actual meat and potatoes of the book, Carlyle's lengthy addres

This was a rather nothing-book for me. Carlyle gave a fairly interesting speech to close the book, but the rest of the book was a collection of scraps about the topic which felt unnecessary.