I Return to Reading Essays

I love reading essays of all kinds.

Most of what passes for the same day essay today is generally in the form of magazine articles, and may have more to do with weight loss or sex than the human condition.

However, it has been my pleasure for many years to read, not only current authors, but giants of literature such as Samuel Johnson, William Hazlitt, Thomas De Quincy, Thoreau, Santayana, and so on.

I read for both enlightenment and amusement, and have enjoyed the insight and humor of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, James Thurber, and Richard Armour, to name just a few.

Over the last few years, life has forced me, or I have let it force me, to concern myself with more practical matters, and my enjoyment of a few minutes with a great mind has suffered for it. I have, in the past, read and written poetry, and this too has been superseded by other activities.

But, I have come to a time in my life when downsizing and downshifting are taking precedence. Therefore, it was not surprising when recently, while going through a box of books, most of which were destined to be sold at Half-Price Books, I uncovered a hardbound copy of “A Treasury of the Essay From Montaigne to E. B. White”, edited by Homer C. Combs. It wound up in the “to be sold” box, but later the same day, I recovered it and placed it on my desk.

It was a few days later that, while running a tub of hot water in which to soak, and looking for a book to occupy my mind, I noticed this treasury waiting patiently, as good books will do.