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Reading

  • ... once the disease of reading has laid hold upon the system it weakens it so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the ink pot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing.

  • I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards — their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble — the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, 'Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.'

    • Virginia Woolf,
    • "How Should One Read a Book?" The Common Reader, 2nd series ()
  • No story is the same to us after a lapse of time; or rather, we who read it are no longer the same interpreters.

  • I easily sink into mere absorption of what other minds have done, and should like a whole life for that alone.

    • George Eliot,
    • letter (1872), in J.W. Cross, ed., George Eliot's Life as Related in Her Letters and Journals ()
  • There is so much to read and the days are so short! I get more hungry for knowledge every day, and less able to satisfy my hunger.

    • George Eliot,
    • 1857, in Gordon S. Haight, ed., The George Eliot Letters, vol. 2 ()
  • As you read [a book] word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.

  • The reason literacy is important is that literature is the operating instructions. The best manual we have. The most useful guide to the country we're visiting, life.

  • I suppose I read now for the reasons I've always read — because it takes me out of myself, it enlarges me and pushes me into new relationships with other people, other stories, and the human imagination itself. Reading is a transformative activity.

    • Kathleen Norris,
    • "In My Mother's Lap," in Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald, eds., The Most Wonderful Books ()
  • Nevil Shute's On the Beach is no Christmas carol, but it seems to me a remarkably fine novel, one which I read, in the peculiarly repulsive phrase, with my eyes glued to the page.

  • The trouble with education is that we always read everything when we're too young to know what it means. And the trouble with life is that we're always too busy to re-read it later.

  • Whatever the theologians might say about Heaven being a state of union with God, I knew it consisted of an infinite library; and eternity ... was simply what enabled one to read uninterruptedly forever.

  • Books, books, BOOKS kept / Insanely breeding. / De Quincey wept, / And went on reading.

  • I had a perfect confidence, still unshaken, in books. If you read enough you would reach the point of no return. You would cross over and arrive on the safe side. There you would drink the strong waters and become addicted, perhaps demented — but a Reader.

  • The ability to 'read' an image, as well as a literary text, shapes the face of reading now — to analyze the composition of a photograph with as much attention as we examine the structure of a narrative. Reading now recognizes the visually inflected world we live in ...

  • You should always believe all you read in newspapers, as this makes them more interesting.

    • Rose Macaulay,
    • "Problems of a Reader's Life," A Casual Commentary ()
  • Only one hour in the normal day is more pleasurable than the hour spent in bed with a book before going to sleep, and that is the hour spent in bed with a book after being called in the morning.

    • Rose Macaulay,
    • "Problems of a Reader's Life," A Casual Commentary ()
  • For me, reading books and writing them are tied together. The words of other writers teach me and refresh me and inspire me.

  • Books showed me there were possibilities in life, that there were actually people like me living in a world I could not only aspire to but attain. Reading gave me hope. For me, it was the open door.

    • Oprah Winfrey,
    • in Nellie Bly, Oprah: Up Close and Down Home ()
  • ... the greatest luxury I know is sitting up reading in bed.

  • Of all the nations in the Western world, the United States, with the most money and the most time, has the fewest readers of books per capita. This is an incalculable loss. This, too, is one of the few civilized nations in the world which is unable to support a single magazine devoted solely to books.

  • I learned to read from Mrs. Augusta Baker, the children's librarian. ... If that was the only good deed that lady ever did in her life, may she rest in peace. Because that deed saved my life, if not sooner, then later, when sometimes the only thing I had to hold on to was knowing I could read.

  • A book is a box brimming with incendiary material. The reader strikes the match.

  • Nothing about my life seemed so bad when I had a book to read.

    • Amber L. Hollibaugh,
    • "The Gap She Fostered," in Christian McEwen and Sue O'Sullivan, eds., Out the Other Side ()
  • No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.

  • She laid her hand across her open book feeling that the words there were so strong and beautiful that they would enter her veins through her palms and so flow to her heart.

  • None but the lonely heart, they say, keeps a diary. None but a lonelier heart, perhaps, reads one. The diary keeper has no one to speak to; the diary reader has no one who speaks to him. The diary writer is at least talking to himself. The diary reader is listening to a man talking to himself.

  • The born traveler shouldn't be a besotted reader. Traveling interrupts reading.

  • I think reading a novel is almost next best to having something to do.

  • ... you ... may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worthwhile to be tormented for two or three years of one's life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it.

  • There is a period in one's life — perhaps not longer than six months — when one lives in two worlds at once ... It is the time when one has freshly learned to read. The Word, till then a denominating aspect of the Thing, has suddenly become detached from it and is perceived as a glittering entity, transparent and unseizable as a jellyfish, yet able to create an independent world that is both more recondite and more instantaneously convincing than the world one knew before.

  • Books only spoil the originality of genius. Very well for those who can't think for themselves — But when one has made up one's opinions, there is no use in reading.

  • For my part, the good novel of character is the novel I can always pick up; but the good novel of incident is the novel I can never lay down.

  • ... as far as possible 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.

  • This is a circular book. It does not begin at the beginning and go on to the end; it is all going on at the same time, sticking out like the spokes of a wheel from the hub, which is me. So it does not matter which chapter is read first or last.

  • Readers themselves, I think, contribute to a book. They add their own imaginations, and it is as though the writer only gave them something to work on, and they did the rest.

  • People don't care to read what they already think or what any people think — they know all that well enough. They want to know what they ought to think.

  • Some people read to confirm their own hopelessness. Others read to be rescued from it.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • [On books waiting to be read:] I have not had time yet. But I look at them as a child looks at a cake, — with glittering eyes and watering mouth, imagining the pleasure that awaits him!

  • ... the pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.

    • Katherine Mansfield,
    • 1922, in J. Middleton Murry, ed., The Letters of Katherine Mansfield, vol. 2 ()
  • It ought to be work to read something that was work to write.

  • The child lives in the book; but just as much the book lives in the child.

  • ... the process of reading is reciprocal; the book is no more than a formula, to be furnished out with images out of the reader's mind.

  • Though not all reading children grow up to be writers, I take it that most creative writers must in their day have been reading children.

  • The return to a favorite novel is generally tied up with changes in oneself that must be counted as improvements, but have the feel of losses. It is like going back to a favorite house, country, person; nothing is where it belongs, including one's heart.

    • Mary McCarthy,
    • "On Re-Reading a Favorite Book," A Bolt From the Blue and Other Essays ()
  • ... he fell into the common error of those who begin to read late in life — that of thinking that what he did not know himself, was equally new to others; and he was apt to fancy that he and the author he was reading were the only two people in the world who knew any thing.

    • Hannah More,
    • "The History of Mr. Fantom," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 ()
  • She reads anything and everything and even now hates to be disturbed and above all however often she has read a book and however foolish the book may be no one must make fun of it or tell her how it goes on. It is still as it always was real to her.

  • In Africa, when you pick up a book worth reading, out of the deadly consignments which good ships are always being made to carry out all the way from Europe, you read it as an author would like his book to be read, praying to God that he may have it in him to go on as beautifully as he has begun. Your mind runs, transported, upon a fresh deep green track.

  • We get no good / By being ungenerous, even to a book, / And calculating profits, — so much help / By so much reading. It is rather when / We gloriously forget ourselves and plunge / Soul-forward, headlong, into a book's profound, / Impassioned for its beauty and salt of truth — / 'T is then we get the right good from a book.

  • While we pay lip service to the virtues of reading, there is still in our culture something that suspects those who read too much (whatever 'too much' means) as lazy, aimless dreamers, as people who need to grow up and come outside where the real life is, as people who think themselves superior in their separateness. There is something in the American character — a certain hale and heartiness — that is suspicious of reading as anything more than a tool for advancement. America is also a nation that prizes sociability and community, that believes that alone leads to loner, loner to loser. Any sort of turning away from human contact is suspect.

  • The gift of creative reading, like all natural gifts, must be nourished or it will atrophy. And you nourish it, in much the same way you nourish the gift of writing — you read, think, talk, look, listen, hate, fear, love, weep — and bring all of your life like a sieve to what you read. That which is not worthy of your gift will quickly pass through, but the gold remains.

  • The wonderful thing about books is that they allow us to enter imaginatively into someone else's life. And when we do that, we learn to sympathize with other people. But the real surprise is that we also learn truths about ourselves, about our own lives, that somehow we hadn't been able to see before.

  • A love of reading encompasses the whole of life: information, knowledge, insight and understanding, pleasure; the power to think, to select, to act, to create — all of these are inherent in a love of reading.

  • We don't want to read a book. We want to live an experience.

  • It has long been my boast that I can read or eat anything. But unfortunately, although I eat like a Hoover, I read so slowly that I am always on the smart book three years after everyone else has finished.

  • During really difficult times in my life when I start questioning why I am struggling with something, I often turn to books to understand myself better.

  • ... those who are happy enough to have a taste for reading, need never be at a loss for amusement.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1684, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 6 ()
  • I pity those who have no taste for reading ...

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1689, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 8 ()
  • Not to find pleasure in serious reading gives a pastel coloring to the mind.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1689, in Katharina M. Wilson and Frank J. Warnke, Women Writers of the Seventeenth Century ()
  • There are two kinds of reading, reading which is contemplation — even a kind of vision & reading for information. For the first only the best will do, for the rest — then one can let in anything one would like to read in the world.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1921, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • I was always furious because you couldn't take out more than three books in one day. You would go home with your three books and read them and it would still be only five o'clock. The library didn't shut till half past, but you couldn't change the books till the next day.

    • Fay Weldon,
    • in Nina Winter, Interview With the Muse ()
  • ... books are wonderful things: to sit alone in a room and laugh and cry, because you are reading, and still be safe when you close the book; and having finished it, discover you are changed, yet unchanged!

  • It is easier for the reader to judge, by a thousand times, than for the writer to invent. The writer must summon his Idea out of nowhere, and his characters out of nothing, and catch words as they fly, and nail them to the page. The reader has something to go by and somewhere to start from, given to him freely and with great generosity by the writer. And still the reader feels free to find fault.

  • I learned from the age of two or three that any room in our house, at any time of day, was there to read in, or to be read to. My mother read to me. She'd read to me in the big bedroom in the mornings, when we were in her rocker together, which ticked in rhythm as we rocked, as though we had a cricket accompanying the story. She'd read to me in the dining room on winter afternoons in front of the coal fire, with our cuckoo clock ending the story with 'Cuckoo,' and at night when I'd got in my own bed. I must have given her no peace. Sometimes she read to me in the kitchen while she sat churning, and the churning sobbed along with any story.

  • Ever since I was first read to, then started reading to myself, there has never been a line read that I didn't hear. As my eyes followed the sentence, a voice was saying it silently to me. It isn't my mother's voice, or the voice of any person I can identify, certainly not my own. It is human, but inward, and it is inwardly that I listen to it. It is to me the voice of the story or the poem itself.

  • My mother read secondarily for information; she sank as a hedonist into novels. She read Dickens in the spirit in which she would have eloped with him.

  • Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.

  • ... where can one find more noble distraction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment, than in literature?

  • Unlike modern military codes, ancient texts are almost never purposely misleading, purposely scrambled. ... indeed, literacy was so uncommon until classical times that the very writing of a message sufficed to keep it from almost everybody.

  • When we got around to books, I was finally set, as our minister would say, on solid ground. I gorged on books. I sneaked them at night. I rubbed their spines and sniffed in the musty smell of them in the library.

  • I devoured books like a person taking vitamins, afraid that otherwise I would remain this gelatinous narcissist, with no possibility of ever becoming thoughtful, of ever being taken seriously.

  • ... I read what I feel, and not what I see.

    • Julie de Lespinasse,
    • 1773, in Katharine Prescott Wormeley, trans., Letters of Mlle. de Lespinasse ()
  • ... I only really love a book when I have read it at least four times ...

  • Most of us write because we love to read. You have to love words and what they do to you to want to spend so much time wrestling them. Books make love to us; we want to make love back. Books speak the truths we suspect. They take us into a realm that only art can open, and send us back to our world refreshed. They are mentors; they initiate us.

  • I'm never ashamed to read a book twice or as many times as I want. We never expect to drink a glass of water just once in our lives. A book can be that essential, too.

  • For though there never was so much reading matter put before the public, there was never less actual 'reading' in the truest and highest sense of the term than there is at present.

    • Marie Corelli,
    • "A Vital Point of Education," Free Opinions ()
  • Fiction structures an experience for the reader to live through. ... That is why people read: to have experiences.

  • My books were doors that gave me entrance into another world. Often I think that I did not grow up in the ghetto but in the books I read as a child in the ghetto.

  • She would read anything from a dictionary to a treatise on turnips. Print fascinated her, dazed her, made her good for nothing.

  • ... reading is not a passive act. It's a creative act. It's a relationship between the writer and a person the writer will probably never meet. I think it's very wrong to write in a way that leaves no room for the reader to maneuver. I don't want to get in the way. What I'd really like to do is to perform the Indian Rope Trick — go higher and higher and eventually disappear.

  • Mrs. Honeywell was a reader, but those publishing houses demanding intellectual cooperation from the customers were not her field.

  • There was an abandonment in reading in those days which I would fain catch again ... Words were intoxicants. I tasted, smelled, touched them. They were unknown fruit, strange and delectable, fragrance floating across wide seas, moonlight on still water. They were as remote from my stupid, halting speech as I was from my immediate and material surroundings. I never said them aloud, but I dwelt with them 'in faery lands forlorn.'

    • Mary Ellen Chase,
    • "The Golden Asse -- A Tribute," The Golden Asse and Other Essays ()
  • We read for instruction, for correction, and for consolation.

    • Queen Christina,
    • 1680, in Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns ()
  • I read for pleasure, and that is the moment at which I learn most. Subliminal learning.

    • Margaret Atwood,
    • in Earl G. Ingersoll, ed., Margaret Atwood: Conversations ()
  • Repeat reading for me shares a few things with hot-water bottles and thumbsucking: comfort, familiarity, the recurrence of the expected.

  • It is my contention that the process of reading is part of the process of writing, the necessary completion without which writing can hardly be said to exist.

    • Margaret Atwood,
    • "An End to Audience?" Second Words: Selected Critical Prose ()
  • Reading ... changes you. You aren't the same person after you've read a particular book as you were before, and you will read the next book, unless both are Harlequin Romances, in a slightly different way.

    • Margaret Atwood,
    • "An End to Audience?" Second Words: Selected Critical Prose ()
  • ... books are brain food. If every American would purchase the equivalent of his weight in books each year, this country would be a different place.

  • The memory of having been read to is a solace one carries through adulthood. It can wash over a multitude of parental sins.

  • ... the art of reading hardly differs from the art of writing, in that its most intense pleasures and pains must remains private, and cannot be communicated to others.

  • ... I read books. Avidly, ardently! As if my life depended upon it.

  • I fall into books the way I fall into lust — wholly, hungrily.

    • Rebecca McClanahan,
    • "Book Marks," in Kathleen Norris, ed., The Best American Essays ()
  • What sense of superiority it gives one to escape reading some book which every one else is reading.

    • Alice James,
    • 1890, in Anna Robeson Burr, Alice James ()
  • The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.

  • Give the child good books, then let it alone! Don't plough and harrow its brain, or stretch it on Procrustes-beds of standardization, simplification, and what not!

  • Reading has always been in the chief joy, a never-ending topic of conversation, and often a lifesaver, in my family.

  • If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly in hand, before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer.

  • It is a sign of intimacy to be able to read in the same room with another person, as trusting as dreaming with someone right beside you.

    • Laura Furman,
    • in Laura Furman and Elinore Standard, Bookworms: Great Writers and Readers Celebrate Reading ()
  • Reading is a socially acceptable form of hallucination.

    • Laura Furman,
    • in Laura Furman and Elinore Standard, Bookworms: Great Writers and Readers Celebrate Reading ()
  • [On her father, Alexander II of Russia:] For two hours every evening, he read to us aloud, seated in his large leather arm-chair. A lamp with a green shade threw a peaceful light upon the pages of his book. The corners of the room and the outline of the objects were plunged in semi-darkness and the atmosphere was warm, soft, and intimate. He read well and with pleasure. My imagination, always alert, illustrated better than could any artist the colourful and intense tales of my mother tongue.

  • We also serve who only sit and read.

    • Judith Crist,
    • "The Best Book I Never Wrote," in Dilys Winn, Murder Ink ()
  • ... while one can lose oneself in a book one can never be thoroughly unhappy.

    • Edith Roosevelt,
    • letter to Theodore Roosevelt (1886), in William O. Foss, First Ladies Quotations Book ()
  • When I was younger I used to lock myself in the bathroom and read in the dry tub. I was also a fan of the 'shoe closet.' Reading felt thrilling and illicit and deeply private to me, and I felt vulnerable doing it in public.

  • ... Captain Littlepage had overset his mind with too much reading ...

  • ... in reading ... stories, you can be many different people in many different places, doing things you would never have a chance to do in ordinary life. It's amazing that those twenty-six little marks of the alphabet can arrange themselves on the pages of a book and accomplish all that. Readers are lucky — they will never be bored or lonely.

  • When I only begin to read, I forget I'm on this world. It lifts me on wings with high thoughts.

  • Almost nothing in our culture encourages the private moment of reading.

  • I can think of no habit, kept up through the years, that binds a married couple more than that of reading good books together. Domestic problems and personal problems are for the time forgotten, and an intellectual intimacy is established that can be maintained in few other ways.

  • ... he started on the first page and finished on the last. He was not a skimmer or a sniffer; he read meticulously, as if, swimming, he were being filmed in slow motion.

  • In the compact between novelist and reader, the novelist promises to lie, and the reader promises to allow it.

  • ... throughout all ranks of society, from the successful merchant, which is the highest, to the domestic serving man, which is the lowest, they are all too actively employed to read, except at such broken moments as may suffice for a peep at a newspaper. It is for this reason, I presume, that every American newspaper is more or less a magazine ...

  • If people don't read, that's their choice; a lifelong book habit may itself be some sort of affliction.

  • ... when I walk into an apartment with books on the shelves, books on the bedside tables, books on the floor, and books on the toilet tank, then I know what I would see if I opened the door that says Private — grownups keep out: a children sprawled on the bed, reading.

  • Teaching children to read was one thing; keeping them interested in reading was something else.

    • Marva Collins,
    • in Marva Collins and Civia Tamarkin, Marva Collins' Way ()
  • [On reading and books:] While the delivery systems change we're still an industry dedicated to the communication of ideas.

  • ... the compulsion to read and write — and it seems to me it should be, even must be, a compulsion — is a bit of mental wiring the species has selected, over time, in order, as the life span increases, to keep us interested in ourselves.

    • Lorrie Moore,
    • in Clare Boylan, ed., The Agony and the Ego ()
  • She was in bed, a book propped in her lap — a biography of a French feminist, which she was reading for the hairdo information.

  • The transaction between writer and reader is human civilization's most dazzling feat, yet it's such a part of our lives that it's, well, prosaic.

  • In many ways, the ability to read is the great divide that separates the very young from everyone else. Once we've joined the conspiracy of the literate, once we've crossed over to the land of the reading, everything changes.

  • We live at the level of our language. Whatever we can articulate we can imagine or understand or explore. All you have to do to educate a child is leave him alone and teach him to read. The rest is brainwashing.

  • ... here are the top three global resources getting scarcer in the twenty-first century: ozone layer, rain forest, people eager to read the fiction of others. That's right, folks. For the first time in I believe written history, there are far more fiction writers on earth than fiction readers.

  • ... reading is pure. It has the thrill of skiing and the primal satisfaction of food, but you don't fall down, and you don't get fat. I do know a girl who broke her arm reading, but that was because she tried to ride her bicycle at the same time.

    • Susan Lowell,
    • "Reading Up," in Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald, eds., The Most Wonderful Books ()
  • Reading, for young children, is rarely a pleasure in isolation, but comes through shared pleasure and constant discerning exposure to books so that they fall naturally into the category of pleasant necessities, along with food, sleep, music and all out-of-doors.

  • I seldom read in 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.

  • Fiction writing is solitary work, but the writing process is not complete until the work is read. A story does not come to life on the page, but in the reader's mind.

    • Kathleen Eagle,
    • "The Outsider," in Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald, eds., The Most Wonderful Books ()
  • No time is ever wasted if you have a book along as a companion.

  • I read because I'm too poor to tour the world, too timid to speak to the dead, too dull to call upon the great minds of the day, too muddled in dishwater and orange peels to see the future revealed, and too inquisitive to let one slim lifetime slip away.

  • ... I have only ever read one book in my life, and that is White Fang. It's so frightfully good I've never bothered to read another.

  • Most people like reading about what they already know — there is even a public for yesterday's weather.

  • People read every thing nowadays, except books.

  • ... unconsciously to one's self, what one reads molds one's habits of thought; and habits of thought are the springs of action.

  • Writers do not come out of houses without books.

    • Doris Lessing,
    • "On Not Winning the Nobel Prize," Nobel lecture ()
  • Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

  • The greatest pleasures of reading consist in re-reading.

  • ... reading is a private act, private even from the person who wrote the book. Once the novel is out there, the author is beside the point. The reader and the book have their own relationship now, and should be left alone to work things out for themselves.

    • Ann Patchett,
    • "My Life in Sales," This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage ()
  • Frank as a companion had only one disadvantage. He read newspapers with the concentration of an elderly clubman.

  • I don't always, or even usually, read stories from beginning to end. I start anywhere and proceed in either direction. A story is not like a road to follow, it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while.

    • Alice Munro,
    • introduction, Selected Stories, 1969-1994 ()
  • [On reading:] It is almost the only inexhaustible pleasure.

  • Not since Harriet the Spy have I been without a book in my hands.

  • She read books quickly and compulsively, paperback after paperback, as if she might drift away without the anchor of the printed page.

  • There are times in one's life when a good book — the right book — feels like a voice speaking in the darkness, or a hand reaching out from the past; providing solace when all else seems lost.

  • So much is it my habit and my pleasure to read, that when I enter a room, the first thing for which my eye instinctively looks is a book. I don't like to sleep in a room where there are no books.

  • I think you're never the same person when you close a book as when you open one; it changes your life very subtly.

  • In his work, every memoirist leaves behind a better or worse likeness of the people he knew, alongside two self-portraits. The first of these two is painted intentionally, while the second is unplanned, accidental. It goes without saying that the first is more flattering than the second, and the second is more faithful than the first.

  • I'm old-fashioned and think that reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised.

  • Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.

  • Think of this — that the writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone with each other.

  • She devoured stories with rapacious greed, ranks of black marks on white, sorting themselves into mountains and trees, stars, moons and sun, dragons, dwarfs, and forests containing wolves, foxes and the dark.

  • When you read a good book, you get to know yourself.

  • ... you miss so much of a good book if you read it only once, because while the book stays the same, you change over time. Did you ever say to yourself, 'I've heard that Beethoven once. I don't have to listen to that again.' Or, 'I've already seen that Cézanne. I don't need to go back to the museum.' Writing is art.

  • To read a novel is a difficult and complex art.

    • Virginia Woolf,
    • "How Should One Read a Book," The Common Reader, 2nd series ()
  • Let's be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.

  • In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself.

  • Anyone who has time to clean isn't reading enough.

  • Life does often get in the way of one's reading.

  • The world’s rulers should be forced to take a reader’s license. Only when they have read five thousand — no, make that ten thousand — books will they be anywhere near qualified to understand humans and how they behave.

  • Reading — an endless journey; a long, indeed never-ending journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind.

  • The reader who plucks a book from her shelf only once is as deprived as the listener who, after attending a single performance of a Beethoven symphony, never hears it again.

    • Anne Fadiman,
    • introduction, Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love ()
  • Reading is an escape, an education, a delving into the brain of another human being on such an intimate level that every nuance of thought, every snapping of synapse, every slippery desire of the author is laid open before you like, well, a book.

  • Vacation reading is not a new concept. Ever since the 19th centery, when novels were considered relatively sinful indulgences, leisure and fiction-reading have been closely associated.

  • The last refuge of the intelligentsia: when life gets too difficult, go find something to read.

  • What it is to be 'read aloud to'? ... It is like lying on one’s back, with one’s hands tied and having liquid poured down one’s throat.

  • ... reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless.