One of the dangers of learning about a subject through reading, without obtaining a firsthand experience of the subject, is that it is easy to get a false sense of the true nature of the subject. In religious circles, for example, there are stories floating around the internet from frustrated converts who became Catholic, Orthodox, or a particular brand of Protestantism by reading their way into that church, without getting a real sense of what the church was like through personal experience before entering it.
I confess that I am guilty of having an overly sentimental view of monastic life because I have read about it, but not lived it. A life of silence and prayer seems appealing when the maelstrom of life reaches a fever pitch.
This article about a story from Sicily should cure me, and anyone who reads it, of that overly sentimental view: "Criminal serving his sentence with monks pleads to be sent back to prison....because monastery life is too hard."
(Thanks to Matthew Dallman for the link, and for noting the appropriate nature of the article's last line: "Nobody at the Santa Maria community was available for comment").