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Books & Reading – select quotes

Tags: book

read.001As addictions go, reading is among the cleanest, easiest to feed, happiest.
~ Joseph Addison

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
~ Joseph Addison

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison

Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.
~ John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

Books are the most mannerly of companions, accessible at all times, in all moods, frankly declaring the author’s mind, without offense.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott, in Concord Days

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
~ Maya Angelou

Easy reading is damn hard writing. But if it’s right, it’s easy. It’s the other way round, too. If it’s slovenly written, then it’s hard to read. It doesn’t give the reader what the careful writer can give the reader.
~ Maya Angelou

Some books are undeservedly forgotten, none are undeservedly remembered.
~ W. H. Auden

Reading maketh a full man.
~ Francis Bacon

Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.
~ Francis Bacon

He who loveth a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, or an effectual comforter.
~ Isaac Barrow

When I am dead, I hope it may be said: “His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.”
~ Hilaire Belloc

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
~ Ray Bradbury

I speak as an unregenerate reader, one who still believes that language and not technology is the true evolutionary miracle. I have not yet given up on the idea that the experience of literature offers a kind of wisdom that cannot be discovered elsewhere; that there is profundity in the verbal encounter itself, never mind what further profundities that author has to offer; and that for a host of reasons the bound book is the ideal vehicle for the written word.
~ Sven Birkerts, in The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age (NY: Fawcett, 1994), page 6.

The information I most want is in books not yet written by people not yet born.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
~ Joseph Brodsky

Reader, If it be not strong upon thy heart to practise what thou readest, to what end dost thou read? To increase thy own condemnation? If thy light and knowledge be not turned into practice, the more knowing man thou art, the more miserable man thou wilt be in the day of recompense; thy light and knowledge will more torment thee than all the devils in hell. Thy knowledge will be that rod that will eternally lash thee, and that scorpion that will for ever bite thee, and that worm that will everlastingly gnaw thee; therefore read, and labour to know, that thou mayest do, or else thou art undone for ever. When Demosthenes was asked, what was the first part of an orator, what the second, what the third? he answered, Action; the same may I say. If any should ask me, what is the first, the second, the third part of a Christian? I must answer, Action; as that man that reads that he may know, and that labours to know that he may do, will have two heavens — a heaven of joy, peace and comfort on earth, and a heaven of glory and happiness after death.
~ Thomas Brooks, in Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, Thomas Brooks, Banner of Truth, 1652 p. 22

Books we must have though we lack bread.
~ Alice Brotherton

A good book is never exhausted. It oges on whispering to you from the wall.
~ Anatole Broyard

Laws die; books never.
~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The possession of a book becomes a substitute for reading it.
~ Anthony Burgess

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
~ Edmund Burke

All the glory of the world would be buried in oblivion, unless God had provided mortals with the remedy of books.
~ Richard De Bury, in Philobiblion

The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.
~ Samuel Butler

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
~ Italo Calvino

Reading for experience is the only reading that justifies excitement. Reading for facts is necessary bu the less said about it in public the better. Reading for distraction is like taking medicine. We do it, but it is nothing to be proud of. But reading for experience is transforming.
~ Henry Seidel Canby

All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.
~ Thomas Carlyle

In books lies the soul of the whole past time; the articulate, audible voice of the past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.
~ Thomas Carlyle

Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.
~ Angela Carter

He gave himself up so wholly to the reading of romances that a-nights he would pore on until it was day, and a-days he would read on until it was night; and thus he sleeping little and reading much the moisture of his brain was exhausted to that degree that at last he lost the use of his reason.
~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, in Don Quixote

God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.
~ William E. Channing

“What shall I do with my books?” was the question; and the answer “Read them” sobered the questioner.
But if you cannot read them, at any rate handle them and, as it were, fondle them. Peer into them. Let them fall open where they will. Read on from the very first sentence that arrests the eye. Then turn to another. Make a voyage of discovery, taking soundings of uncharted seas. . . . Arrange them on your own plan, so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. If they cannot be your friends, let them at any rate be your acquanintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.
~ Winston Churchill

Anyone who has a book collection and a garden wants for nothing.
~ Cicero

A room without books is like a body without a soul.
~ Cicero

The only way to do all the things you’d like to do is to read.
~ Tom Clancy

A book in the hand is worth two on the shelf.
~ Henry T. Coutts

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.
~ Hart Crane

Literature is man’s exploration of man by artificial light, which is better than natural light because we can direct it where we want.
~ David Daiches

The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.
~ Rene Descartes

There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.
~ Charles Dickens

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
of Prancing Poetry.

This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll–
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul.
~ Emily Dickinson

The world is a library of strange and wonderful books, and sometimes we just need to go prowling through the stacks.
~ Michael Dirda

When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings.
~ W. E. B. Du Bois

I seldom read on beaches or in gardens. You can’t read by two lights at once, the light of day and the light of the book. You should read by electric light, the room in shadow, and only the page lit up.
~ Marguerite Duras

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
~ Albert Einstein

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends. they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, the most patient teachers.
~ Charles Eliot

A collector recently bought at public auction, in London, for one hundred and fifty-seven guineas, an autograph of Shakespeare; but for nothing a school-boy can read Hamlet and can detect secrets of highest concernment yet unpublished therein.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Experience”

There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. Every sentence is doubly significant, and the sense of our author is as broad as the world.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, in The American Scholar

When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes. My luggage is my library. My home is where my books are.
~ Desiderius Erasmus

There are those who, while reading a book, recall, compare, conjure up emotions from other, previous readings. This is one of the most delicate forms of adultery.
~ Ezequiel Martínez Estrada

When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.
~ Clifton Fadiman

If the crowns of all the kingdoms of the Empire were laid at my feet in exchange for my books and my love of reading, I would spurn them all.
~ Francois Fenelon

But he who truly loves books loves all books alike, and not only this, but it grieves him that all other men do not share with him this noble passion. Verily, this is the most unselfish of loves!
~ Eugene Field in Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac

The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
~ Gustave Flaubert

And indeed, what is better than to sit by one’s fireside in the evening with a book, while the wind beats against the window and the lamp is buring?
~ Gustave Flaubert in Madame Bovary

Read in order to Live.
~ Gustave Flaubert

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folk have lent me.
~ Anatole France

There are no bad books any more than there are ugly women.
~ Anatole France

ReadingToday a reader, tomorrow a leader.
~ Margaret Fuller

The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them that reading is a pleasurable activity.
~ Neil Gaiman

Digital reading will completely take over. It’s lightweight and it’s fantastic for sharing. Over time it will take over.
~ Bill Gates

The book must of necessity be put into a bookcase. And the bookcase must be housed. And the house must be kept. And the library must be dusted, must be arranged, must be catalogued. What a vista of toil, yet not unhappy toil!
~ William Gladstone

I have always suspected that authors lie about the books they read, their purported influences, much as men lie about their sex lives; they are at once ashamed and vain, reluctant to be judged, hiding behind a safe parapet like Joyce and Proust and Kafka.
~ Brian Glanville

The dear good people don’t know how long it takes to learn to read. I’ve been at it eighty years, and can’t say yet that I’ve reached the goal.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
~ Ursula Le Guin

Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.
~ Mark Haddon

The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it ives you moral knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is moral illumination.
~ Elizabeth Hardwick

What is a book? Part matter and part spirit; par thing and part thought–however you look at it, if defies definition.
~ Ernest O. Hauser

I fell asleep reading a dull book and dreamed I kept on reading, so I awoke from sheer boredom.
~ Heinrich Heine

All good books have one thing in common. They are truer than if they had really happened.
~ Ernest Hemingway

These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice . . . and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart.
~ Gilbert Highet

It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.
~ S.I. Hiyakawa

Poets are never allowed to be mediocre by the gods, by men or by publishers.
~ Horace as quoted by Montaigne

Reading is a sage way to bump up against life. Reading may be an escape, but it is not escape from my own life and problems. It is escape from the narrow boundaries of being only me.
~ Gladys Hunt, in Honey for a Woman’s Heart (HT: Heidi)

Every man who knows how to read has it in him power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, and interesting.
~ Aldous Huxley

Farther than arrows, higher than wings fly poet’s song and prophet’s words.
~ Inscription on the Brooklyn Public Library

Books are the most enduring monument of man’s achievement. Through them, civilization becomes cumulative.
~ Inscription in the Detroit Public Library

A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalm’d and treasur’d up on purpose to a life beyond life.
~ Inscription in the New York Public Library.

Here genius lies enshrined.
Here sleep in silent majesty
The monarchs of the mind
~ Inscription in the St. Louis Public Library

People who don’t read are brutes.
~ Eugene Ionesco

Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.
~ Thomas Jefferson

I cannot live without books.
~ Thomas Jefferson

The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.
~ Joseph Joubert

A reader finds little in a book save what he puts here. But in a great book he finds space to put many things.
~ Joseph Joubert

A book ought to be an icepick to break up the frozen sea within us.
~ Franz Kafka

A book is a gift you can open again and again.
~ Garrison Keillor

As a former English major, I am a sitting duck for Gift Books, and in the past few years I’ve gotten Dickens, Thackeray, Smollet, Richardson, Emerson, Keats, Boswell and the Brontes, all of them Great, none of them ever read by me, all of them now on a shelf, looking at me and making me feel guilty.
~Garrison Keillor

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.
~ Helen Keller

If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries.
~ John F. Kennedy

The aim of great books is ethical: to teach what it means to be a man. Every major form of literary art has taken for its deeper themes what T.S. Eliot called “the permanent things”–the norms of human action.
~ Russell Kirk, in Enemies of the Permanent Things. LaSalle, IL: Sherwood Sugden and Co., 1984. page 41

A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog’s ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins.
~ Charles Lamb

In some respects the better a book is, the less it demands from the binding.
~ Charles Lamb

What is reading, but silent conversation.
~ Charles Lamb

Magazines all too frequently lead to books, and should be regarded by the prudent as the heavy petting of literature.
~ Fran Lebowitz

I have give up reading books; I find it takes my mind off myself.
~ Oscar Levant

Any kid who has parents who are interested in him and has a houseful of books isn’t poor.
~ Sam Levenson

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
~ C. S. Lewis

A book is a mirror: If an ass peers into it, you can’t expect an apostle to look out.
~ G. C. Lichtenberg

Books, nowadays, are printed by people who do not understand them, sold by people who do not understand them, read and reviewed by people who do not understand them, and even written by people who do not understand them.
~ G. C. Lichtenberg

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections; unless we chew them over again, they will not give us strength and nourishment.
~ John Locke

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks
All the sweet serenity of books.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Books are more than books. They are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men lived and worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.
~ Amy Lowell

My alma mater was books, a good library…I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.
~ Malcolm X

The world exists to be put in a book.
~ Stephane Mallarme

bookaddiction.001A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.
~ George R. R. Martin

I am a machine condemned to devour books.
~ Karl Marx, in a letter to Engels, April 11, 1868

If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.
~ François Mauriac

Readers, on the other hand, have at least 7.5 books going all the time. Actually, the number of books a reader takes on is usually directly related to the number of bathrooms he has in his home and office. I am working on a survey that will show that, over a lifetime, readers are in bathrooms seven years and three months longer than nonreaders.
~ Calvin Miller, “Confessions of a Librophliac” in Christianity Today, January 18, 1985, page 32.

A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.
~ John Milton

As good almost kill a man as kill a good book: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself.
~ John Milton

What enriches language is its being handled and exploited by beautiful minds–not so much by making innovations as by expanding it through more vigorous and varied applications, by extending it and deploying it. It is not words that they contribute: what they do is enrich their words, deepen their meanings and tie down their usage; they teach it unaccustomed rhythms, prudently though and with ingenuity.
~ Michel de Montaigne, “On Some Lines of Virgil”

There is hardly any grief that an hour’s reading will not dissipate.
~ Montesquieu

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear that it will go off in you face. . . . It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.
~ Edward P. Morgan

Malnutrition of the reading faculty is a serious thing.
~ Christopher Morley, in The Haunted Bookshop

Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.
~ Napoleon

The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.
~ Pablo Neruda

We read to know that we are not alone.
~ William Nicholson

Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier.
~ Kathleen Norris

Read properly, fewer books than a hundred would suffice for a liberal education. Read superficially, the British Museum Library might still leave the student a barbarian.
~ A. R. Orage)

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
~ P.J. O’Rourke

Until one has some kind of professional relationship with books, one does not discover how bad the majority of them are.
~ George Orwell

A great novel is a kind of conversion experience. We come away from it changed.
~ Katherine Patterson

I divide all readers into two classes: Those who read to remember and those who read to forget.
~ William Lyon Phelps

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
~ Chinese proverb

The strongest memory is weaker than the palest ink.
~ Chinese proverb

No worse thief than a bad book.
~ Italian proverb

In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.
~ Anna Quindlen, in How Reading Changed My Life, page 6.

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. they are the destination, and the journey. They are home.
~ Anna Quindlen, in How Reading Changed My Life, page 70.

Tough choices face the biblioholic at every step of the way–like choosing between reading and eating, between buying new clothes and buying books, between a reasonable lifestyle and one of penurious but masochistic happiness lived out in the wallow of excess.
~ Tom Raabe, Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction

Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.
~ Hazel Rochman

A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
~ Will Rogers

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
~ Will Rogers

People die, but books never die. No man and no force can abolish memory.
~ Franklin Roosevelt

The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.
~ Andrew Ross

The universe is made of stories,
not of atoms.
~ Muriel Rukeyser, “The Speed of Darkness”

If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying.
~ John Ruskin, in Sesame and Lilies

You must get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and assuring yourself of their meaning, syllable by syllable–nay, letter by letter… you might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live long enough) and remain an utterly “illiterate,” undeducated person; but if you read ten pages of a good book, letter by letter, — that is to say, with real accuracy– you are for evermore in some measure an educated person.
~ John Ruskin

The Bible is the one book to which any thoughtful man may go with any honest question of life or destiny and find the answer of God by honest searching.
~ John Ruskin

There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.
~ Bertrand Russell

All my life I have been trying to learn to read, to see and hear, and to write.
~ Carl Sandburg

The peace of great books be for you,
Stains of pressed clover leaves on pages,
Bleach of the light of years held in leather.
~ Carl Sandburg, from his poem “For You”, in Harvest Poems: 1910-1960

Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.
~ Mary Schmich

The difference between the effect produced on the mind by thinking for yourself and that produced by reading is incredibly great…For reading forcibly imposes on the mind thoughts that are as foreign to its mood as the signet is to the wax upon which it impresses its seal. The mind is totally subjected to an external compulsion to think this or that for which it has no inclination and is not in the mood…The result is that much reading robs the mind of all elasticity, as the continual pressure of a weight does a spring, and that the surest way of never having any thoughts of your own is to pick up a book every time you have a free moment.
~ Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970), page 89.

There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.
~ Maurice Sendak

Desultory reading is delightful, but to be beneficial, our reading must be carefully directed.
~ Seneca

It does not matter how many, but how good, books you have.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Learning to read . . . we slowly learn to read ourselves. Once we learn how to read, even if then we do not live more wisely, we can at least begin to be aware of why we have not.
~ Mark Shorer

We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.
~ B. F. Skinner

No furniture is so charming as books.
~ Sydney Smith

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.
~ Lemony Snicket

Reading makes the full man, and it is the full man who alone can overflow for the profit of others.
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Commenting and Commentaries, 24; quoted in Nettles, Living by Revealed Truth, 158

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Richard Steele

Read. Read. Read. Just don’t read one type of book. Read different books by various authors so that you develop different style.
~ R. L. Stein

I guess there are never enough books.
~ John Steinbeck

And if a man reads very hard, as the old anecdote reminds us, he will have little time for thought.
~ Robert Lewis Stevenson, in An Apology For Idlers

As if a man’s soul were not too small to begin with, they have dwarfed an narrowed theirs by a life of all work and no play; until here they are at forty, with a listless attention, a mind vacant of all material of amusement, and not one thought to rub against another, while they wait for the train.
~ Robert Lewis Stevenson, in An Apology For Idlers

Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.
~ Robert Lewis Stevenson, in An Apology For Idlers

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You should live several lives while reading it.
~ William Styron

My home is where my books are.
~ Ellen Thompson

Books are the treasured wealth of the world, to fit the inheritance of generations.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Books must be read as deliberately and as reservedly as they were written.
~ Henry David Thoreau

How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!
~ Henry David Thoreau, in Reading

I always begin at the left with the opening word of the sentence and read towards the right and I recommend this method.
~ James Thurber

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
~ Atwood H. Townsend

Book love, my friends, is your pass to the greatest, the purest, and the most perfect pleasure that God has prepared for His creatures.
~ Anthony Trollope

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world, “lighthouses” (as a poet said) “erected in the sea of time.” They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.
~ Barbara Tuchman.

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Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
~ Mark Twain

‘Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.
~ Mark Twain

If you’re going to be a prisoner of your own mind, the least you can do is make sure it’s well furnished.
~ Peter Ustinov

I was reading a book…’the history of glue’ – I couldn’t put it down.
~ Tim Vine

You tell me your favorite novelists and I’ll tell you whom you vote for, or whether you vote at all.
~ Stephen Vizinczey

The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from out neighbors, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
~ Voltaire

Books rule the world, or at least those nations which have a written language; the others do not matter.
~ Voltaire

Despite the enormous quantity of books, how few people read! And if one reads profitably, one would realize how much stupid stuff the vulgar herd is content to swallow every day.
~ Voltaire

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.
~ Voltaire

A novelist has mad a fictional representation of life. I doing so, he has revealed to us more significance, it may be, than he could find in life itself.
~ Bernard de Voto

I only read what I am hungry for at the moment when I have an appetite for it, and then I do not read, I eat.
~ Simone Weil

Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.
~ E.P. Whipple

As in the sexual experience, there are never more than two persons present in the act of reading–the writer, who is the impregnator, and the reader, who is the resspondent. This gives the experience of reading a sublimity and power unequalled by any other form of communication.
~ E. B. White

Comerado, this is no book,
Who touches this, touches a man,
(Is it night? Are we here alone?)
It is I you hold, and who holds you,
I spring from the pages into your arms–decease calls me forth.
~ Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass”

Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of the viol or lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?
~ Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
~ Oscar Wilde

A ravening appetite in him demanded that he read everything that had ever been written about human experience. He read no more from pleasure–the thought that other books were waiting for him tore at his heart forever. He pictured himself as tearing the entrails from a book as from a fowl.
~ Thomas Wolfe, in Of Time and the River

The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.
~ John Wooden

We agreed that people are now afraid of the English language. He [T.S. Eliot] said it came of being bookish, but not reading books enough. One should read all styles thoroughly.
~ Virginia Woolf from The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Volume Two: 1920-1924

Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.
~ Virginia Woolf in her essay “Street Haunting”

Of course, literature is the only spiritual and humane career. Even painting tends to dumness, and music turns people erotic, whereas the more you write the nicer you become.
~ Virginia Woolf

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
~ Henny Youngman

Our true birthplace is that in which we cast for the first time an intelligent eye on ourselves. My first homelands were my books.
~ Marguerite Yourcenar

You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.
~ Zig Ziglar

This post first appeared on Kevin Stilley, please read the originial post: here

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Books & Reading – select quotes


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