Some people read for instruction, and some for pleasure, but not a few read from habit. I belong to that company. Let us admit that reading with us is just a drug that we cannot get along without.
Books are necessary to me and I never travel far without enough reading matter.
But when I am starting on a long journey, the problem is really great. I have learnt my lesson. Once I fell ill in a small town in Java and had to stay in bed for three months. I came to the end of all the books I had brought with me and knowing no Dutch had to buy the schoolbooks from which intelligent Javanese, I suppose, got knowledge of French and German.
So I read again after twenty-five years the plays of Goethe, the fables of La Fontaine and the tragedies of Racine.
I have the greatest admiration for Racine, but I admit that to read his plays one after the other requires a certain effort in a person who is ill. Since then I have made a point of travelling with a large sack full of books for every possible occasion and every mood.
There are books of all kinds.
Volumes of verse, novels, philosophical works, critical studies (they say books about books are useless, but they certainly make very pleasant reading), biographies, history; there are books to read when you are ill and books to read when your brain wants something to work at; there are books that you have always wanted to read but in the hurry of life at home have never found time to; there are books to read at sea; there are books for bad weather; there are books chosen solely for their length, which you take along when you have to travel light, and there are the books you can read when you can read nothing else.