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Quotes about books and reading (no indexes for this category)...

Quotations from books: Other quotations, by author:



Quotations about Books and Reading:



    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 (1809-1865)

    The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.

    ~ Elizabeth Drew


    "If you drop gold and books, pick up the books first, then the gold."

    ~ Anonymous


    "I've lost some friends I truly cherished
    For whom I'm greatly sorrowed
    These friends aren't humans who have perished
    They're books that humans borrowed."

    ~ Anonymous


    "Any hack can safely rail away at foreign powers beyond the sea; but a good writer is a critic of the society he lives in."

    ~ Edward Abbey


    "Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends."

    ~ Dawn Adams


    "Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life."

    ~ Mortimer J. Adler


    "In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you."

    ~ Mortimer J. Adler


    "She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain."

    ~ Louisa May Alcott


    "A book is a garden carried in the pocket".

    ~ Arabian proverb


    "Some books are undeservedly forgotten; none are undeservedly remembered."

    ~W.H. Auden


    "To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry."

    ~ Gaston Bachelard


    "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

    ~ Francis Bacon


    "Books say: she did this because. Life says: she did this . Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own."

    ~ Julian Barnes


    "Books are men of higher stature; the only men that speak aloud for future times to hear."

    ~ E.S. Barrett


    "He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, as in all fortunes."

    ~ Barrow


    "Literature ... is the rediscovery of childhood."

    ~ Georges Bataille


    "Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house."

    ~ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)


    "Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore!"

    ~ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)


    "When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
    'His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.'"

    ~ Hillaire Belloc


    "Books are not men and yet they stay alive."

    ~ Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943)


    "A book is solitude, privacy; it is a way of holding the self apart from the crush of the outer world."

    ~ Sven Birkert


    "A wonderful thing about a book, in contrast to a computer screen, is that you can take it to bed with you."

    ~ Daniel J. Boorstein


    "I have always imagined that Paradise is a kind of library."

    ~ Jorge Luis Borges


    "I have always come to life after coming to books."

    ~ Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)


    "When writers die they become books, which is afterall, not too bad an incarnation."

    ~ Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)


    "Ideas are to literature what light is to painting."

    ~ Paul Bourget


    "Books stitch the patches of the universe together into one garment for us."

    ~ Ray Bradbury


    "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them".

    ~ Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)


    "To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting."

    ~ Edmund Burke


    "A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say."

    ~ Italo Calvino


    "May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books."

    ~ Thomas Carlyle


    "A collection of books is the best of all universities."

    ~ Thomas Carlyle


    "All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been, it is all lying in magic preservation in the pages of books."

    ~ Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)


    "All writers take a piece of themselves and blend it into bound pages. To understand the writer one must take a walk within the fertile fields of his/her imagination."

    ~ R. Louis Carroll


    "Books are the blessed chloroform of the mind."

    ~ Robert Chambers


    "Books are standing counselors and preachers, always at hand, and always disinterested; having this advantage over oral instructors, that they are ready to repeat their lesson as often as we please."

    ~ Oswald Chambers


    "The mere brute pleasure of reading --the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing."

    ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton


    "It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotes."

    ~ Winston Churchill (1874-1965)


    "A room without books is like a body without a soul."

    ~ Marcus T. Cicero


    "A truly great book should be read in youth, once again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight."

    ~ Robertson Davies (1913-1995)


    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man nothing else that he builds ever lasts monuments fall; nations perish; civilization grow old and die out; new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on. Still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts, of the hearts of men centuries dead."

    ~ Clarence Day


    "There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away."

    ~ Emily Dickinson


    "A word is dead when it is said. Some say. I say it just, begins to live that day."

    ~ Emily Dickinson


    The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.

    ~ Elizabeth Drew


    "Never judge a book by its movie."

    ~J.W. Eagan


    "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;
    they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

    ~Charles W. Eliot


    "Never read a book that is not a year old."

    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


    "There is creative reading as well as creative writing."

    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


    " 'Tis the good reader that makes the good book."

    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


    "When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food."

    ~ Desiderius Erasmus (dutch writer 1466-1536)


    That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

    ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


    "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 (1844-1924)


    "The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book."

    ~ Northrop Frye


    "A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."

    ~ Margaret Fuller


    "I can take a book from dusty shelves, and be haunted by the thoughts... in their winding sheet of words."

    ~ from Drums of Autumn Prologue, by Diana Gabaldon


    "I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things."

    ~ George Robert Gissing


    "Books are delightful society. If you go into a room and find it full of books -- even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome. They seem to tell you that they have got something inside their covers that will be good for you, and that they are willing and desirous to impart to you. Value them much."

    ~ William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898)


    "The first time I read an excellent work, it is to me just as if I gained a new friend; and when I read over a book I have perused before, it resembles the meeting of an old one."

    ~ Sir James Goldsmith


    "A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way."

    ~ Caroline Gordon (1895-1981)


    "A book is a book only when it is read; otherwise it is a bundle of gathered sheets of soiled paper."

    ~ Frederick Philip Grove


    "A people's literature is the great textbook for real knowledge of them. The writings of the day show the quality of the people as no historical reconstruction can."

    ~ Edith Hamilton


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

    ~ Elizabeth Hardwick


    "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


    "Whenever books are burned men also in the end are burned."

    ~ Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)


    "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 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


    "Books may well be the only true magic."

    ~ Alice Hoffman


    "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


    "The mortality of all inanimate things is terrible to me, but that of books most of all."

    ~ William Dean Howells


    "Everything comes to him who waits, except a loaned book."

    ~ Kin Hubbard


    "Words form the thread on which we string our experiences."

    ~ Aldous Huxley


    "The proper study of mankind is books."

    ~ Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)


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

    ~ Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)


    "Books like friends, should be few and well-chosen."

    ~ Joineriana


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

    ~ Joseph Joubert


    "Everywhere I have sought rest and not found it, except sitting in a corner by myself with a little book."

    ~ Thomas Kempis


    "For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time."

    ~ Louis L'Amour


    "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond."

    ~ C.S. Lewis


    "There is nothing as cozy as a piece of candy and a book."

    ~ Betty MacDonald, from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic


    "Literature should be more revolutionary than revolutions themselves; ... writers must find the means to continue to be critical of the negative elements in the sociopolitical reality."

    ~ Naguib Mahfouz


    "A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special."

    ~ Nelson Mandela


    "A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books....Children learn to read being in the presence of books."

    ~ H. Mann


    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend; and inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

    ~ Groucho Marx


    "The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you."

    ~ W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)


    "The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think."

    ~ McCosh


    "Until it is kindled by a spirit as flamingly alive as the one which gave it birth a book is dead to us. Words divested of their magic are but dead hieroglyphs."

    ~ Henry Miller


    "A Book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face... ...it is one of the few havens remaining where (your) mind can get both provocation and privacy."

    ~ Edward. P Morgan


    "Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man."

    ~ Vladimir Nabokov


    "No one can draw more out of things, books included, than he already knows. A man has no ears for that which experience has given him no access."

    ~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


    "Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier."

    ~ Kathleen Norris (1880-1966)


    "Wear the old coat and buy the new book."

    ~ Austin Phelps


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

    ~ Hazel Rochman


    "Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer


    "Don't ask me who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he's digested, and I've been reading all my life."

    ~ Giorgos Seferis


    "A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end."

    ~ William Styron


    "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book."

    ~ Henry David Thoreau


    "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


    "Books are the carriers of civilisation. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilisation would be 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


    "A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever."

    ~ Martin Farquhar Tupper


    "A person who does not read good books has no advantage over the person who can't read them."

    ~ Mark Twain (Samuel Langhornne Clemens, 1835-1910)


    "There is no such things as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all."

    ~ Oscar Wilde
    (Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills)


    "The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame."

    ~ Oscar Wilde
    (Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills)


    "Friends can betray you but books are always loyal."

    ~ Wang Gho Zhen



Quotations from Books:



    "There is a theory that states: 'If anyone finds out what the universe is for it will disappear and be replaced by something more bizzarly inexplicable.' There is another theory that states: 'This has already happened...'

    ~ from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


    "That young girl is one of the least benightedly unintelligent organic life forms it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting.

    ~ from Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams


    "Was this betrayal, or was it an act of courage? Perhaps both. Neither one involves forethought: such things take place in an instant, in an eyeblink. This can only be because they have been rehearsed by us already, over and over, in silence and darkness; in such silence, such darkness, that we are ignorant of them ourselves. Blind but sure-footed, we step forward as if into a remembered dance."

    ~ from The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood


    "The end of the war approached. It got nearer and nearer. Then it occurred. I remembered the silence after the last war had ended, and then the ringing of the bells. It had been November, then, with ice on the puddles, and now it was spring. There were parades. There were proclamations. Trumpets were blown. It wasn't so easy though, ending the war. A war is a huge fire; the ashes from it drift far and settle slowly."

    ~ from The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood


    "All she has left is the picture. Also the story of it. The picture is of happiness, the story not. Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there's no way in or out. In Paradise there are no stories, because there are no journeys. It's loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward, along it's twisted road."

    ~ from The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood


    "As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don't know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable."

    ~ from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum


    "We found him fuller of knowledge of goodness than any other man. "

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "One loved the man who shone out through the eyes and used its mouth to smile and speak. "

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "Her mind emptied of anything but the vacuum of resignation that afflicts the hopeless in the imminence of death. "

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "I want to kiss you until my spirit flies with the angels. "

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "A great nostalgia rose up like a palpable mist. "

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "There is nothing so good and lovely as when man and wife in their home dwell together in unity of mind and disposition." (credited to Homer)

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined that it is inconceivable that you should ever part."

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body.... Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident."

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "I am exploding with the fire of love and there is no one to accept or nourish it . I am a foreigner within my own nation, an alien in my own race, I am as detested as cancer when I am as purely flesh as any priest or doctor."

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "She was still transfixed by his beauty, by the harmony and strength of his work, and could not resist the idea that God had given her chance to look over what was hers before she took possesion of it;"

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "For the first time in my life I shivered physically from something other than the cold; the world had sloughed away its skin and revealed itself as energy and light."

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "One can only forgive a sin after the sinner has finished committing it, because we cannot allow ourselves to condone it whilst it is still being perpetrated."

    ~ from Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres


    "Books stitch the patches of the universe together into one garment for us."

    ~ from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


    "So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality."

    ~ from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


    "It was not without a certain wild pleasure that I ran before the wind, delivering my trouble of mind to the measureless air-torrent thundering through space."

    ~ from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


    "Where have all the fireflies gone; those earthbound stars of night?
    Do they hide from our eyes beneath grass as it lies?
    Or has their beauty just faded from our sight?"

    ~ from The Gift: A Christmas Story by R. Louis Carroll


    "The hourglass is a sea of sand. Each grain, individual in its own right, is like no other grain. Yet, each is part of the greater sea... ...I again turn the hourglass to watch this perception of time continue and realize; WE are the grains of sand; forever trapped in the NOW, forever part of that greater sea."

    ~ from The Gift: A Christmas Story by R. Louis Carroll


    "After my father's accident we had learned to place things where he always knew to find them. It was one thing to do this for a blind man, though. Quite another for a man with a painter's eyes."

    ~ from Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier


    "'You smell of linseed oil.'
    My father spoke in a baffled tone. He did not believe that simply cleaning a painter's studio would make the smell linger on my clothes, my skin, my hair. He was right. It was as if he guessed that I now slept with the oil in my room, that I sat for hours being painted and absorbing the scent. He guessed and yet he could not say. His blindness took away his confidence so that that he did not trust the thoughts in his mind."

    ~ from Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier


    "There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined.... Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more."

    ~ from The Hours by Michael Cunningham


    "We have been lost to each other for so long.

    My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust.

    This is not your fault, or mine. The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word passed to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. That is why I became a footnote, my story a brief detour between the well-known history of my father, Jacob, and the celebrated chronicle of Joseph, my brother. On those rare occasions when I was remembered, it was as a victim."

    ~ from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


    "Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of the first child. I studied his face, fingers, the folds in his boneless little legs, the whorls of his ears, the tiny nipples on his chest. I held my breath as he sighed, laughed when he yarned, wondered at his grasp on my thumb. I could not get my fill of looking."

    "There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and bereft, exalted and ravaged. I have crossed over from girlhood. I beheld myself as an infant in my mother's arms, and caught a glimpse of my own death. I wept, without knowing whether I rejoiced or mourned. My mothers and theirs mothers were with me as I held my baby."

    ~ from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


    "I will remember you in the morning and in the evening, every day until I close my eyes forever. I forgive your every harsh thought of me and the curses you may hurl at my name. And when at last you do forgive me, I forbid you to suffer a moment's guilt in my name. I ask that you remember only my blessing upon you."

    ~ Dinah to her son in The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


    "Ah, Miss Harriet, it would do us no harm to remember oftener than we do, that vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess!"

    ~ from Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens


    "As I had grown accustomed to my expectations, I had insensibly begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their influence on my own character, I disguised from my recognition as much as possible, but I knew very well that it was not good at all good."

    ~ from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens


    "That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

    ~ from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens


    "Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning him-self to let it eat him away."

    ~ from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


    "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."

    ~ from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so. far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. "

    ~ from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


    "She was truest to them in the season of trial, as all the quietly loyal and good will always be. "

    ~ from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


    "If you could say, with truth, to your own solitary heart, to-night, 'I have secured to myself the love and attachment, the gratitude or respect, of no human creature; I have won myself a tender place in no regard; I have done nothing good or serviceable to be remembered by!' your seventy-eight years would be seventy-eight heavy curses; would they not?"

    ~ from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


    "How often have I said to you that when you heve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

    ~ Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


    "Do you always watch for the longest day of the year then miss it? I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it."

    ~ Daisy in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


    "There was something gorgeous about him... ...it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."

    ~ from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


    "The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic - their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground."

    ~ from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


    "There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams - not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart."

    ~ from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


    "It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced - or seemed to face - the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."

    ~ Nick on meeting Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


    "The human language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out a tune for a dancing bear, when we hope with our music to move the stars."

    ~ from Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert


    "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart"

    ~ from The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank


    "A philosopher never quite gets used to the world. To him or her, the world continues to seem a bit unreasonable- bewildering, even enigmatic. Philosophers and small children thus have an important faculty in common."

    ~ from Sophie's World by Jostein Gardner


    "From this experience I understood the danger of focusing only on what isn't there. What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I'd spent everyday watching for a man who would come for me? What an unbearable sorrow it would be to realize I never tasted the things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been, because I'd thought of nothing but the Chairman even while my life was drifting away from me. And yet if I drew my thoughts back from him, what life would I have? I would be like a dancer who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give."

    ~ from Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


    "The fishermen on the inlet began to soften as they disappeared within the curtain of rain, and then they were gone completely. I could see the storm climbing the slope toward me. The first drops hit me like quail eggs, and in a matter of seconds I was as wet as if I'd fallen into the sea."

    ~ from Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


    "...Now I know that our world is no more permanent than a wave rising on the ocean. Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper."

    ~ from Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


    "This is our island. It's a good island. Until the grown-ups come to fetch us we'll have fun."

    ~ Ralph from Lord of the Flies by William Golding


    "He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one's waking life was spent watching one's feet."

    ~ from Lord of the Flies by William Golding


    "Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn't you? I'm part of you?
    Close, close, close! I'm the reason why it's no go? Why things are what they are?"

    ~ from Lord of the Flies by William Golding


    "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

    ~ the Savage, in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


    "What's the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you? We've gone on controlling ever since. It hasn't been very good for truth, of course. But it has been very good for happiness. One can't have something for nothing."

    ~ the Controller, in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


    "You can't make flivvers without steel - and you can't make tragedies without social instability. The world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can't get."

    ~ the Controller, in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


    "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say an uncommon-place thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles..."

    ~ from On the Road by Jack Kerouac


    "A pain stabbed my heart as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world."

    ~ from On the Road by Jack Kerouac


    "Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen."

    ~ from Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver


    "There were many, many fine reasons not to go, but attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act-- a triumph of desire over sensibility. Any person who would seriously consider it is almost by definition beyond the sway of reasoned argument."

    ~ from Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer


    "The ratio of misery to pleasure was greater by an order of magnitude than any other mountain I'd been on; I quickly came to understand that climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain. And in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium, and suffering, it struck me that most of us were probably seeking, above all else, something like a state of grace."

    ~ from Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer


    "Few of the climbers trudging by had given either corpse more than a passing glance. It was as if there were an unspoken agreement on the mountain to pretend that these desiccated remains weren't real-- as if none of us dared to acknowledge what was really at stake here.

    ~ from Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer


    "There is nothing as cozy as a piece of candy and a book."

    ~ Betty MacDonald, from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic


    "She moved from Vermont hoping to begin her life, and now she is stranded in the vast openness of L.A. She keeps working to make connections, but the pile of near misses is starting to overwhelm her. What Mirabelle needs is some omniscient voice to illuminate and spotlight her, and to inform everyone that this one has value, this one over here, the one sitting in the bar by herself, and then to find her counterpart and bring him to her."

    ~ Steve Martin, from Shopgirl


    "If he thinks he would harm Mirabelle, he would back away. But he does not yet understand when and how people are hurt."

    ~ Steve Martin, from Shopgirl


    "I think I should tell you a few things. I don't think I'm ready for a real relationship right now." He saws this not to Mirabelle but to the air, as though he is just discovering a truth about himself and accidentally speaking it aloud.

    Mirabelle answers, "You had a rough time with your divorce." Understanding. For Ray Porter, that is good. She absolutely knows that this will never be long term.

    He goes on: "But I love seeing you and I want to keep seeing you."

    "I do too," says Mirabelle.

    Mirabelle believes he has told her that he is bordering on falling in love with her, and Ray believes she understands that he isn't going to be anybody's boyfriend.

    ~ Steve Martin, from Shopgirl


    "The more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn't there."

    ~ from The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne


    "There is no such thing as freedom on earth," he said.
    "Only different kinds of bondages. And comparative bondages. You think you are free now because you've escaped from a peculiarly unbearable kind of bondage. But are you? You love me - that's a bondage."

    ~ from The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery


    "You forget, Moonlight, that there are different kinds of beauty."

    ~ from The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery


    "It was three o'clock in the morning-the wisest and most accursed hour of the clock. But sometimes it sets us free."

    ~ from The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery


    "Browse as long as you like...we have what you want, though you may not know you want it. Malnutrition of the reading faculty is a serious thing. Let us prescribe for you."

    ~ from The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley


    "I tell you, books are the depositories of the human spirit, which is the only thing in this world that endures."

    ~ Roger Mifflin in The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley


    "And even if she were beautiful, what of it? The devil himself can become beauty, so we are told, to corrupt mankind."

    ~ Marco da Cola in An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears


    "I would show all the world that some people, in this debased and corrupted country, still knew the meaning of honor. With the purity of youth it is possible to think in such noble and simple terms. It is a clarity that experience strips from us, and we are all poorer for the loss."

    ~ Jack Prescott in An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears


    "Never in history of the universe had such a crime been committed, and I remember vividly how the sky turned dark and the earth rocked as the anger of heaven was loosed on the land. It rained for days afterward, the sky itself weeping for the sinfulness of mankind."

    ~ Jack Prescott in An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears


    "I have a passion for order, for in order lies the fulfillment of God's plan for us all. The joy of a mathematical problem solved with elegance and the pain of seeing the natural harmony of man disrupted are two sides of the same coin; in both cases I believe I allied myself to the cause of righteousness."

    ~ John Wallis in An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears


    "Only men without power do not desire it; those who have felt its touch crave ever more of its embrace."

    ~ John Wallis in An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears


    "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

    ~ Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling


    "The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution."

    ~ Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling


    "Never trust something that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain!"

    ~ Mr. Weasley in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling


    "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."

    ~ Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling


    "I am what I am, an' I'm not ashamed. 'Never be ashamed,' my ol' dad used ter say, 'there's some who'll hold it against you, but they're not worth botherin' with.' An' he was right."

    ~ Rubius Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling


    "You've got to appreciate what the worst is. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you're facing it. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"

    ~ Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling


    "What a sad story, I thought for so long. Not that I now think it was happy. But I think it is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."

    ~ Michael Berg in The Reader by Bernhard Schlink


    "Each layer of a Jawbreaker was slightly and subtly a different shade of coloration from the one that preceded it, after the initial black or red coating had been sucked off, had disappeared, the Breaker would emerge dead white and then a few moments later it changed imperceptibly to a dull, mottled brown with overtones of green, followed by a rich brick-red vein. Next, perhaps, a mocking impudent onion-yellow. White again! And then a somber, morose purplish-gray, and on down, layer after layer, color after color, until finally, at about the size of a tiny French pea, it would crumble and reward the afcionado with a minute seed which crunched and then disappeared. The Jawbreaker, a fitting parable of life itself, infinitely varied, sweet, and always receding until finally only the seed."

    ~ Ralph in In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd


    "When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."

    ~ from Thoughts on Various Subjects by Jonathan Swift


    "Small causes are sufficient to make a man uneasy when great ones are not in the way. For want of a block he will stumble at a straw."

    ~ from Thoughts on Various Subjects by Jonathan Swift


    How Shelob came there, flying from ruin, no tale tells, for out of the Dark Years few tales have come. But still she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.

    ~ from The Lord of the Rings -- The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien


    "I find, dear reader, that I have grown accustomed to the hectic pace of office life... I have succeeded in in initiating several work-saving methods. I have taken to arriving at the office one hour later than I am expected. Therefore, I am far more rested and refreshed when I do arrive, and I avoid that bleak first hour of the working day during which my still sluggish senses and body make every chore a penance. I find that in arriving later, the work which I do perform is of a much higher quality. My innovation in connection with the filing system must remain secret for the moment, for it is rather revolutionary...

    ~ Ignatius J. Reilly (as filing clerk) in Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole


    "I could only imagine how many haggard and depraved eyes were regarding me hungrily from behind the closed shutters; I tried not to think about it. Already I was beginning to feel like an especially toothsome steak in a meat market. However, no one called enticingly from the shutters; those devious mentalities throbbing away in their dark apartments were apparently more subtle seducers. I thought that a note, at least, might flutter down. A frozen orange juice can came flying out of one of the windows and barely missed me. I stooped over and picked it up in order to inspect the empty tin cylinder for a communication of some sort, but only a viscous residue on concentrated juice trickled out on my hand. Was this some obscene message? While I was pondering the matter and staring up at the window from which the can had been hurled, an old vagrant approached the wagon and pleaded for a frankfurter. Grudgingly I sold him one, ruefully concluding that, as always, work was interfering at a crucial moment.

    ~ Ignatius J. Reilly (as hot dog vendor) in Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole


    "'Angelo's got him a hard road to travel,' Mrs. Reilly said absently. She was thinking of the PEACE TO MEN OF GOOD WILL sign that Ignatius had tacked to the front of their house after he had come home from work... 'What you think about somebody wants peace, Claude?' 'That sounds like a communiss to me.'"

    ~ from A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole


    "I dust a bit...in addition, I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip."

    ~ Ignatius J. Reilly in Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole


    "We lose the thread of things. This is what I always ask of music - to restore the thread to me... ...order. That is what we long for, in our innermost souls. An order that mirrors Plato's Celestial Harmonies: a corrective to the silent chaos that inhabits every human breast. And music comes nearest to restoring this to us."

    ~ King Christian IV in Music and Silence by Rose Tremain


    "And are we ever as happy as when we are on the threshold of hope? Are we ever again as amazed and delighted as when we detect the possibility of a sea of change in our lives? What if the diet or the plan to read all of Shakespeare lies in tatters six weeks down the road? The night before such enterprises is joy undiminished."

    ~ from The Age of Longing by Richard B. Wright



Other Quotations by Authors:

(if you know the title of the book that any of these came from, please let me know)

    "We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the Beautiful Stuff out."

    ~ Ray Bradbury, Author


    "Grow old along with me!
    The best is yet to be,
    The last of life, for which the first was made."

    ~ Robert Browning
    from the poem "Rabbi Ben Ezra"


    "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp -- or what's a heaven for?"

    ~ Robert Browning


    "The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."

    ~ Emily Dickenson


    "There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: Those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid that you will succeed."

    ~ Ray Goforth


    "A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used."

    ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes


    "Nothing else in the world . . . not all the armies . . . is so powerful as an idea whose time has come."

    ~ Victor Hugo


    "If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrong-doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean."

    ~ Aldous Huxley


    "All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together."

    ~ Jack Kerouac


    "It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters, in the end."

    ~ Ursula Le Guin


    "One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."

    ~ A.A. Milne


    "Still round the corner there may wait,
    A new road or a secret gate."

    ~ J.R.R. Tolkien


    "Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

    ~ Mark Twain


    "Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example."

    ~ Mark Twain


    "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again -- and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

    ~ Mark Twain


    "Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real."

    ~ Jules Verne


    "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time."

    ~ E.B. White


    "A man cannot be too careful in his choice of enemies."

    ~ Oscar Wilde


    "I think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability."

    ~ Oscar Wilde


    "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

    ~ Oscar Wilde