BOOK QUOTES



  1. It happens to us once or twice in a lifetime to be drunk with some book which probably has some extraordinary relative power to intoxicate us and none other; and having exhausted that cup of enchantment we go groping in libraries all our years afterwards in the hope of being in Paradise again. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson in a letter to Sam Ward
  2. The worst way to read, he said, is with the thought that you do not have enough time. The only way to read is in the knowledge that there is an infinite amount of time stretching ahead, and that if one wishes to taste only afew sentences per day one is free to do so. ~Gabriel Josipovici, Moo Pak
  3. Those moments when you feel you want to read something truly beautiful. The eyes make a tour of the library, and there is nothing. Then you decide to take no matter what, and it is full of beautiful things. ~Jules Renard
  4. When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness. ~Jules Renard
  5. There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it. ~Bertrand Russell
  6. Take the book into your two hands and read your eyes out, you will never find what I find.
  7. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Spiritual Laws” Essays, First Series
  8. Every reader exists to ensure for a certain book a modest immortality. Reading is, in this sense, a ritual of rebirth. ~Alberto Manguel in The Library at Night
  9. Some cleric putting a match to her. /Neither of them looks happy about it. /Once lit, she’ll burn like a book, /like a book that was ever finished, /like a locked-up library. ~Margaret Atwood, “Saint Joan of Arc on a Postcard” in The Door
  10. But there is no end to the praise of books, to the value of the library. Who shall estimate their influence on our population where all the millions read and write ? It is the joy of nations that man can communicate all his thoughts, discoveries and virtues to records that may last for centuries. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Address at the Opening of Concord Free Public Library”
  11. The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency — the belief that here and now is all there is. ~Allan Bloom
  12. From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings. ~Helen Hayes
  13. The words loved me and I loved them in return.~Sonia Sanchez
  14. In the right hands, literature is not resorted to as a consolation, and by the broken and decayed, but as a decalogue.~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  15. If the sentences knew how I read them…~Geoffrey O’Brien
  16. True literature can exist only where it is created, not by diligent and trustworthy officials, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics.~Yevgeny Zamyatin
  17. In the highest civilization the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  18. Instead of going to Paris to attend lectures, go to the public library, and you won’t come out for twenty years, if you really wish to learn.~Leo Tolstoy
  19. Reading is important–read between the lines. Don’t swallow everything.~Gwendolyn Brooks
  20. ‘T is the good reader that makes the good book.~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  21. No book so bad but some part may be of use.~Pliny
  22. I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.~Franz Kafka
  23. We continue to believe that books embody the ideas that turn us from isolated souls into a powerful community.~Mission Statement of Harry W Schwartz Bookshops
  24. 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
  25. My home is where my books are.~Ellen Thompson
  26. 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 Falubert in Madame Bovary
  27. 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
  28. Malnutrition of the reading faculty is a serious thing.~Christopher Morley in The Haunted Bookshop
  29. The world is a library of strange and wonderful books, and sometimes we just need to go prowling through the stacks.~Michael Dirda
  30. 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”
  31. Anyone who has a book collection and a garden wants for nothing.~Cicero
  32. 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
  33. Woke up this morning witha terrific urge to lie in bed all day and read.~Raymond Carver
  34. Life is our dictionary.~Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.~Herman Wouk
  39. Magazines all too frequently lead to books, and should be regarded by the prudent as the heavy petting of literature.~Fran Lebowitz
  40. 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
  41. Read in order to Live.~Gustave Flaubert
  42. Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.~Hazel Rochman
  43. A great novel is a kind of conversion experience. We come away from it changed.~Katherine Patterson
  44. 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
  45. There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.~Bertrand Russell
  46. 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
  47. 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”
  48. 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
  49. 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”
  50. Books must be read as deliberately and as reservedly as they were written.~Henry David Thoreau
  51. 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”
  52. There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.~Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)
  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. 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
  56. In some respects the better a book is, the less it demands from the binding.~Charles Lamb
  57. 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
  58. 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
  59. Poets are never allowed to be mediocre by the gods, by men or by publishers.~Horace as quoted by Montaigne
  60. 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
  61. Books are carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculations at a standstill.~Barbara Tuchman
  62. All my life I have been trying to learn to read, to see and hear, and to write.~Carl Sandburg
  63. 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
  64. [To] turn poet, they say, is an infectious and incurable distemper.~Cervantes, Don Quixote, I, 6
  65. Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.~E.P. Whipple
  66. The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.~Andrew Ross
  67. Time comes into it.Say it. Say it. The universe is made of stories,not of atoms.~Muriel Rukeyser, “The Speed of Darkness”
  68. 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
  69. Quotes about books, from clever to comical. Fun to read at any speed, guaranteed. An open book leads to an open mind.
  70. Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. – Groucho Marx
  71. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. – P.J. O’Rourke
  72. If good books did good, the world would have been converted long ago. – George Moore
  73. I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia. – Woody Allen
  74. One trouble with developing speed reading skills is that by the time you realize a book is boring you’ve already finished it. – Franklin P. Jones
  75. This is the sixth book I’ve written, which isn’t bad for a guy who’s only read two. – George Burns
  76. There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. – Joseph Brodsky
  77. Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me. – Anatole France
  78. I have been told by hospital authorities that more copies of my works are left behind by departing patients than those of any other author. – Robert Benchley
  79. I think it is good that books still exist, but they do make me sleepy. – Frank Zappa
  80. I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading contest. I hit a bookmark. – Stephen Wright
  81. Sure reading a book under a tree is peaceful but imagine how stressful it is for the tree to see a bunch of it’s dead friends in your hand. – Kyle Lippert @Kyle_Lippert
  82. My wife joined a book club. They primarily read wine labels. – Unknown Author
  83. That “…for Dummies” publisher rejected my ventriloquism book. – Just Bill  @WilliamAder
  84. A library is a place where you can lose your innocence without losing your virginity. – Germaine Greer
  85. A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. – Gilbert K. Chesterton
  86. I heard that Amazon has started a program to try to get people to trade in their old bound books to get an electronic reader. They call it “Kindling.” – Kate Deimling
  87. Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. – Harry S Truman
  88. Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad. – George Bernard Shaw
  89. People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned. – Saul Bellow
  90. One advantage reading books has over TV is you can’t read books and do housework at the same time. – Melanie White
  91. I’ve often thought of writing my autobiography and selling it as a cure for insomnia. – Melanie White
  92. My wife doesn’t watch soap operas. She’s too busy reading romance novels. – Melanie White
  93. As a pioneer in free ebooks more than ten years ago, I feel like I have to keep up, hence my announcement today that to go with the new Kindle Zero, the free edition of my new book comes with a new Buick LeSabre or a large fig newton, your choice. While supplies last, one per customer. – Seth Godin
  94. Books to the ceiling,
    Books to the sky,
    My pile of books is a mile high.
    How I love them!
    How I need them!
    I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them. – Arnold Lobel
  95. No one ever shouts in a bookstore. – Lillian Jackson Braun
  96. It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down. – Agatha Christie
  97. When I visit a new bookstore, I demand cleanliness, computer monitors, and rigorous alphabetization. When I visit a secondhand bookstore, I prefer indifferent housekeeping, sleeping cats, and sufficient organizational chaos. – Anne Fadiman
  98. What do I miss? Second-hand bookshops where I can find things I had no idea I wanted. – David Mitchell
  99. I have gone to [this bookshop] for years, always finding the one book I wanted – and then three more I hadn’t known I wanted. – Mary Ann Shaffer
  100. From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. – Winston Churchill
  101. I wrote a few children’s books. Not on purpose. – Steven Wright
  102. I get a lot of letters from people. They say: “I want to be a writer. What should I do?” I tell them to stop writing to me and get on with it.  – Ruth Rendell
  103. If writers were good businessmen, they’d have too much sense to be writers.  – Irvin S. Cobb
  104. If Moses were alive today he’d come down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments and spend the next five years trying to get them published. – Anonymous
  105. The road to hell is paved with adverbs. – Stephen King
  106. If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.  – Doug Larson
  107. Writers don’t have lifestyles. They sit in little rooms and write.  – Norman Mailer
  108. Learn to write. Never mind the damn statistics. If you like statistics, become a CPA. – Jim Murray
  109. The dubious privilege of a freelance writer is he’s given the freedom to starve anywhere.  – S.J. Perelman
  110. Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. – Gene Fowler
  111. If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing. – Kingsley Amis
  112. Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities. The other, unfortunately, is talent. – Ernest Hemingway
  113. Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment thereafter. – Jessamyn West
  114. I was sorry to hear my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead, so is Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I am not feeling very well myself. – Mark Twain
  115. All autobiographies are alibi-ographies. – Clare Booth Luce
  116. The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. – Mary Heaton Vorse
  117. The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.  – Tom Waits
  118. The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but a transference of bones from one graveyard to another. – J. Frank Dobie
  119. An autobiography usually reveals nothing bad about its writer except his memory. – Franklin P. Jones
  120. Long, hard slog today writing the Great American Tweet.  (That was it…what do you think? Pulitzer?) – Greg Tamblyn
  121. A bad review may spoil your breakfast, but you shouldn’t allow it to spoil your lunch. – Kingsley Amis
  122. Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard. – John Steinbeck
  123. Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs. – Christopher Hampton
  124. The only time I’ll get good reviews is if I kill myself. – Edward Albee
  125. As far as I’m concerned, “whom” is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler. – Calvin Trillin
  126. Listen up, Internet: there is no “h” in “wacky.” Got that? THERE IS NO “H” IN “WACKY.” Thank you. – Dave Barry
  127. Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up. – Ernest Hemingway
  128. About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment. – Josh Billings
  129. Alimony is the curse of the writing class. – Norman Mailer
  130. Autobiography is an unrivaled vehicle for telling the truth about other people. – Philip Guedalla
  131. An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing. – Quentin Crisp
  132. Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book, and does. – Groucho Marx
  133. Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publications. – Fran Lebowitz
  134. Revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. – Stephen King
  135. Never let a bad memory get in the way of a good memoir. – Joanie Levenson
  136. Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. – Flannery O’Connor
  137. It’s splendid to be a great writer, to put men into the frying pan of your imagination and make them pop like chestnuts. – Gustave Flaubert
  138. Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public. – Paulo Coelho
  139. All literature is gossip. – Truman Capote
  140. Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. – Dr. Samuel Johnson, to an aspiring writer
  141. I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better. – A. J. Liebling
  142. There’s not much to be said about the period except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough. – William Zinsser
  143. It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous. – Robert Benchley
  144. When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am a grown up they call me a writer. – Isaac Bashevis Singer
  145. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies. Don’t use no double negatives. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. – William Safire
  146. Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial “we.” – Mark Twain
  147. Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money. – Ashish Chauhan



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