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One reads books in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don't read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining.

GARRISON KEILLOR, "The More Noble Prize,", Nov. 30, 2005

That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed with profit.


There are many, many types of books in the world, which makes good sense, because there are many, many types of people, and everybody wants to read something different.

DANIEL HANDLER (as Lemony Snicket), The Bad Beginning

Books, like bricks, depend upon each other for support.


If you would understand your own age, read the works of fiction produced in it. People in disguise speak freely.

ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd

Book reading is a solitary and sedentary pursuit, and those who do are cautioned that a book should be used as an integral part of a well-rounded life ... A book should not be used as a substitute or an excuse.


Call me a pessimist, call me Ishmael, but I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (U R 2 1derful), blogging like crazy, reading for hours off their little screens, surfing around from Henry James to Jesse James to the epistle of James to pajamas to Obama to Alabama to Alanon to non-sequiturs, sequins, penguins, penal institutions, and it's all free, and you read freely, you're not committed to anything the way you are when you shell out $30 for a book, you're like a hummingbird in an endless meadow of flowers.

GARRISON KEILLOR, "The End of an Era in Publishing," A Prairie Home Companion, May 25, 2010

A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.

DANIEL HANDLER (as Lemony Snicket), Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

One cannot celebrate books sufficiently. After saying his best, still something better remains to be spoken in their praise. As with friends, one finds new beauties at every interview, and would stay long in the presence of those choice companions. As with friends, he may dispense with a wide acquaintance. Few and choice. The richest minds need not large libraries.


Are not good books honey-comb from the bee-hives of industry, handed down to us to sweeten our lives and help us aim to higher attainments of happiness? Are not good books white-winged messengers of love and good cheer, coming out of the past to cheer and strengthen us for the duties and responsibilities of life? Are not good books the golden settings of gems of truth and diamonds of knowledge prepared for our diadems of rejoicing and crowns of victory? Are not good books so many angel gifts sent to sweeten the bitterness of human life?


Of books in our time the variety is so voluminous, and they follow so fast from the press, that one must be a swift reader to acquaint himself even with their titles, and wise to discern what are worth reading.


Book publishing would be so much easier without the authors.

DAN BROWN, The Lost Symbol

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main ... and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.

WALT DISNEY, attributed, Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time

The indulgent 800-page books that were written a hundred years ago are just not going to be written anymore and people need to get used to that. If you think you're going to write something like "The Brothers Karamazov" or "Moby-Dick," go ahead. Nobody will read it. I don't care how good it is, or how smart the readers are. Their intentions, their brains are different.

CORMAC MCCARTHY, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 20, 2009

The books that charmed us in youth recall the delight ever afterwards; we are hardly persuaded there are any like them, any deserving our equal affections.


What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.

J. D. SALINGER, The Catcher in the Rye

Books ... were merely nodes in a near-infinite matrix of information that exists in four dimensions, evolving toward the idea of the concept of the approximation of the shadow of Truth vertically through time as well as longitudinally through knowledge.


McDonald’s has announced that for the next month in the United Kingdom, Happy Meals will come with a book instead of a toy. And they will be renamed "Disappointment Meals."

JIMMY KIMMEL, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Jan. 12, 2012

What could be better, really, than to sit by the fire in the evening with a book, while the wind beats against the windowpanes, and the lamp burns?... You forget everything ... and hours go by. Without moving, you walk through lands you imagine you can see, and your thoughts, weaving in and out of the story, delight in the details or follow the outlines of the adventures. You merge with the character; you think you're the one whose heart is beating so hard within the clothes he's wearing.


It was actually books that started to make those pockets of freedom, which I hadn’t otherwise experienced. I do see them as talismans, as sacred objects. I see them as something that will protect me, I suppose, that will save me from things that I feel are threatening. I still think that; it doesn’t change. It doesn’t change, having money, being successful. So from the very first, if I was hurt in some way, then I would take a book -- which was very difficult for me to buy when I was little -- and I would go up into the hills, and that is how I would assuage my hurt.

JEANETTE WINTERSON, The Paris Review, winter 1997

There are some books that reached through the noise of life to grab you by the collar and speak only of the truest things.


It's tricky turning a book into a movie. Sometimes people love the book so much that no adaptation lives up to what they imagined. You can avoid that disappointment by never, ever reading books.

CRAIG FERGUSON, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Mar. 21, 2012

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY, "A Letter from Cuba," Esquire, Dec. 1934

In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius.


Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Partial Magic in the Quixote," Labyrinths

I stepped into the bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that strangely no one had ever thought of bottling.


I know not how it is, but during a voyage I collect books as a ship does barnacles.

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, letter to Charles Sumner, September 17, 1842

Books are all right, but dead men's brains are no good unless you mix a live one's with them.


All books are either dreams or swords,
You can cut, or you can drug, with words.

AMY LOWELL, Sword Blades and Poppy Seeds

Every few seconds a new book sees the light of day. Most of them will just be a part of the hum that makes us hard of hearing. Even the book is becoming an instrument of forgetting. A truly literary work comes into being as its creator’s cry of protest against the forgetting that looms over him, over his predecessors and his contemporaries alike, and over his time, and the language he speaks. A literary work is something that defies death.

IVAN KLIMA, speech at conference in Lahti, Finland, 1990

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