There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.
CHARLES DICKENS, Oliver Twist
I know of one semibarbarous zone whose librarians repudiate the "vain and superstitious habit" of trying to find sense in books, equating such a quest with attempting to find meaning in dreams or in the chaotic lines on the palms of one's hand.
JORGE LUIS BORGES, "The Library of Babel"
I don't know myself, what to do, where to go ... I lie in the crack of a book for my comfort ... it's what the world offers ... please leave me alone to dream as I fancy.
WILLIAM H. GASS, Omensetter's Luck
No man living in a world as interesting as this ever writes a book if he can help it.
GERALD STANLEY LEE, Crowds
The sincere love of books has nothing to do with cleverness or stupidity any more than any other sincere love. It is a quality of character, a freshness, a power of pleasure, a power of faith. A silly person may delight in reading masterpieces just as a silly person may delight in picking flowers. A fool may be in love with a poet as he may be in love with a woman.
G. K. CHESTERTON, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," On Lying in Bed and Other Essays
It is quite too common a practice, both in readers and the more superficial class of critics, to judge a book by what it is not, a matter much easier to determine than what it is.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, The Round Table
I am sure everyone has had the experience of reading a book and finding it vibrating with aliveness, with colour and immediacy. And then, perhaps some weeks later, reading it again and finding it flat and empty. Well, the book hasn't changed: you have.
DORIS LESSING, Time Bites
The inspiration of a single book has made preachers, poets, philosophers, authors, and statesmen. On the other hand, the demoralization of a single book has sometimes made infidels, profligates, and criminals.
ORISON SWETT MARDEN, Architects of Fate
The majority of the books of our time give one the impression of having been manufactured in a day out of books read the day before.
CHAMFORT, The Cynic's Breviary
To say that the publishing world is not interested in literature is to overstate it. They are extremely interested in it, they just don’t want to publish it, you see. Publishers are brave, as brave as the famous diving horses of Atlantic City, but they’re increasingly owned by conglomerates, businesses which have nothing to do with publishing, and these companies demand a certain profit out of their publishing divisions. They take very few risks and they publish an enormous number of things which look like books, sort of feel like books, but in reality are buckets of peanut butter with a layer of whipped cream on top.
DONALD BARTHELME, "A Symposium on Fiction"
Bog-lights, vapours of mysticism, psychic overtones, soul orgies, wailings among the shadows, weird gnosticisms, veils and tissues of words, gibbering subjectivisms, gropings and maunderings, ontological fantasies, pan-psychic hallucinationsthis is the stuff, the phantasms of hope, that fills your book shelves.
JACK LONDON, John Barleycorn
There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.... Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.
My main disappointment was always that a book had to end. And then what? But I don't think I was ever disappointed by the books. I must have been what any author would consider an ideal reader. I felt every pain and pleasure suffered or enjoyed by all the characters. Oh, but I identified!
EUDORA WELTY, Conversations with Eudora Welty
The best books are those which lift us to a higher plane where we breathe a purer atmosphere.
ORISON SWETT MARDEN, Architects of Fate
I consider books to be good for our health, and also our spirits, and they help us to become poets or scientists, to understand the stars or else to discover them deep within the aspirations of certain characters, those who sometimes, on certain evenings, escape from the pages and walk among us humans, perhaps the most human of us all.
JOSÉ SARAMAGO, The Notebook
One's life is more formed, I sometimes think, by books than by human beings: it is out of books one learns about love and pain at second hand. Even if we have the happy chance to fall in love, it is because we have been conditioned by what we have read, and if I had never known love at all, perhaps it was because my father's library had not contained the right books.
GRAHAM GREENE, Travels with My Aunt
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
G. K. CHESTERTON, Heretics
It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself.
EUDORA WELTY, One Writer's Beginnings
The lessons taught in great books are misleading. The commerce in life is rarely so simple and never so just.
ANITA BROOKNER, Novelists in Interview
A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.
WILLIAM STYRON, attributed, Writers at Work
The reading of a fine book is an uninterrupted dialogue in which the book speaks and our soul replies.
ANDRÉ MAUROIS, An Art of Living
We have a lot of books in our house. They are our primary decorative motif-books in piles and on the coffee table, framed book covers, books sorted into stacks on every available surface, and of course books on shelves along most walls. Besides the visible books, there are books waiting in the wings, the basement books, the garage books, the storage locker books...They function as furniture, they prop up sagging fixtures and disguised by quilts function as tables...I can't imagine a home without an overflow of books. The point of books is to have way too many but to always feel you never have enough, or the right one at the right moment, but then sometimes to find you'd longed to fall asleep reading the Aspern Papers, and there it is.
LOUISE ERDRICH, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country
Book burning is a charming old custom, hallowed by antiquity. It has been practiced for centuries by fascists, communists, atheists, school children, rival authors, and tired librarians. Like everything of importance since the invention of the cloak and the shroud, its origins are cloaked in mystery and shrouded in secrecy. Some scholars believe that the first instance of book burning occurred in the Middle Ages, when a monk was trying to illuminate a manuscript. All agree that book burning was almost non-existent during the period when books were made of stone.
RICHARD ARMOUR, "How to Burn a Book," A Safari into Satire
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
HARUKI MURAKAMI, Norwegian Wood
Books are influential in proportion to their obscurity, provided that the obscurity be that of inexpressible Realities. The Bible is the most obscure book in the world. He must be a great fool who thinks he understands the plainest chapter of it.
COVENTRY PATMORE, The Rod, the Root, and the Flower
A book is a suicide postponed.
EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born
A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.