I was standing in Daedalus Books in Charlottesville, Virginia, and I had recently read Mortimer J. Adler’s How to Read a Book. I was alive with the desire to read. But at that particular moment, my glee turned to horror. For whatever reason, the truth of the numbers suddenly hit me. The year before, I had read about thirty books. For me, that was a new record. But then I started counting. I was in my early twenties, and with any luck I’d live at least fifty more years. At that rate, I’d have about 1,500 books in me, give or take.
There were more books than that on the single wall I was staring at.
That’s when I had a realization of my mortality. My desire outpaced reality. I simply didn’t have the life to read what I wanted to read.Justin Whitmel Earley, The Common Rule, p. 111
My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh (Ecclesiastes. 12:12)