is obscure that takes place in the mind) to go through two
processes in reading. One might be called the actual reading; 
the other the after reading. During the actual reading, when
we hold the book in our hands, there are incessant distrac-
tions and interruptions. New impressions are always com-
pleting or cancelling the old. One’s judgment is suspended, 
for one does not know what is coming next. Surprise, admira-
tion, boredom, interest, succeed each other in such quick 
succession that when, at last, the end is reached, one is for
the most part in a state of complete bewilderment. Is it good?
or bad? What kind of book is it? How good a book is it? The
friction of reading and the emotion of reading beat up too
much dust to let us find clear answers to these questions. If
we are asked our opinion, we cannot give it. Parts of the book 
seem to have sunk away, others to be starting out in undue
prominence. Then perhaps it is better to take up some differ-
ent pursuit—to walk, to talk, to dig, to listen to music. The
book upon which we have spent so much time and thought
fades entirely out of sight. But suddenly, as one is picking a 
snail from a rose, tying a shoe, perhaps, doing something
distant and different, the whole book floats to the top of the
mind complete. Some process seems to have been finished
without one’s being aware of it. The different details which
have accumulated in reading assemble themselves in their
proper places. The book takes on a definite shape; it becomes
a castle, a cowshed, a gothic ruin, as the case may be. Now
one can think of the book as a whole, and the book as a whole 
is different, and gives one a different emotion, from the book
received currently in several different parts. Its symmetry 
and proportion, its confusion and distortion can cause great
delight or great disgust apart from the pleasure given by
each detail as it is separately realized. Holding this complete
shape in mind it now becomes necessary to arrive at some
opinion of the book’s merits, for though it is possible to
receive the greatest pleasure and excitement from the first
process, the actual reading, though this is of the utmost