Sunday, May 01, 2005

Quotations about Books and Reading

There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away.  No one has stepped twice into the same river.  But did anyone ever step twice into the same book?  ~Marina TsvetaevaThe stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived.  ~Howard Pyle No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books.  ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning Medicine for the soul.  ~Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.  ~E.P. Whipple 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 "Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread.  ~François MauriacBooks are embalmed minds.  ~Bovee Children don't read to find their identity, to free themselves from guilt, to quench the thirst for rebellion or to get rid of alienation.  They have no use for psychology.... They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff.... When a book is boring, they yawn openly.  They don't expect their writer to redeem humanity, but leave to adults such childish illusions.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer I divide all readers into two classes; those who read to remember and those who read to forget.  ~William Lyon Phelps The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs.  ~Henry Ward Beecher Nothing is worth reading that does not require an alert mind.  ~Charles Dudley Warner The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its disasters.  ~Ross MacDonald The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.  ~Samuel Butler I have friends whose society is delightful to me; they are persons of all countries and of all ages; distinguished in war, in council, and in letters; easy to live with, always at my command.  ~Francesco PetrarchGood as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one.  ~Augustine Birrell, Obiter Dicta, "Book Buying" To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.  ~Edmund Burke The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one's encounter with it in a book.  ~André Maurois A house without books is like a room without windows.  ~Heinrich Mann From my point of view, a book is a literary prescription put up for the benefit of someone who needs it.  ~S.M. Crothers He fed his spirit with the bread of books.  ~Edwin Markham Bread of flour is good; but there is bread, sweet as honey, if we would eat it, in a good book.  ~John RuskinMost books, like their authors, are born to die; of only a few books can it be said that death hath no dominion over them; they live, and their influence lives forever.  ~J. Swartz A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors.  ~Henry Ward Beecher Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.  ~John LeCarre Never judge a book by its movie.  ~J.W. EaganI love to lose myself in other men's minds.... Books think for me.  ~Charles Lamb Far more seemly were it for thee to have thy study full of books, than thy purse full of money.  ~John Lyly The wise man reads both books and life itself.  ~Lin Yutang I often derive a peculiar satisfaction in conversing with the ancient and modern dead, - who yet live and speak excellently in their works.  My neighbors think me often alone, - and yet at such times I am in company with more than five hundred mutes - each of whom, at my pleasure, communicates his ideas to me by dumb signs - quite as intelligently as any person living can do by uttering of words.  ~Laurence Sterne You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me. ~Strickland Gillilan (Thank you, Laurel.) He who lends a book is an idiot.  He who returns the book is more of an idiot.  ~Arabic Proverb An ordinary man can... surround himself with two thousand books... and thenceforward have at least one place in the world in which it is possible to be happy.  ~Augustine Birrell Books - the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity.  ~George Steiner In reading, a lonely quiet concert is given to our minds; all our mental faculties will be present in this symphonic exaltation.  ~Stéphane Mallarmé We are too civil to books.  For a few golden sentences we will turn over and actually read a volume of four or five hundred pages.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson From every book invisible threads reach out to other books; and as the mind comes to use and control those threads the whole panorama of the world's life, past and present, becomes constantly more varied and interesting, while at the same time the mind's own powers of reflection and judgment are exercised and strengthened.  ~Helen E. Haines Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.  ~Richard Steele, Tatler, 1710 To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.  ~W. Somerset Maugham How vast an estate it is that we came into as the intellectual heirs of all the watchers and searchers and thinkers and singers of the generations that are dead!  What a heritage of stored wealth!  What perishing poverty of mind we should be left in without it!  ~J.N. Larned That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed with profit.  ~Amos Bronson Alcott The multitude of books is making us ignorant.  ~Voltaire There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book; books are well written or badly written.  ~Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891 Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.  It is wholesome and bracing for the mind to have its faculties kept on the stretch.  ~Augustus Hare The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes Books have to be read (worse luck it takes so long a time).  It is the only way of discovering what they contain.  A few savage tribes eat them, but reading is the only method of assimilation revealed to the West.  ~E.M. Forster Except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book!  A message to us from the dead, - from human souls whom we never saw, who lived perhaps thousands of miles away; and yet these, on those little sheets of paper, speak to us, teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers.  ~Charles KingsleyLet your bookcases and your shelves be your gardens and your pleasure-grounds.  Pluck the fruit that grows therein, gather the roses, the spices, and the myrrh.  ~Judah Ibn TibbonSome books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.  ~Francis Bacon Books are a refuge, a sort of cloistral refuge, from the vulgarities of

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