Quotes on Books and Reading

  • Books break shackles of time. A book is a proof that human beings can work magic. – Carl Sagan
  • The pursuit of knowledge was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books. – Ta Nehisi Coates
  • Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing. – Harper Lee.
  • Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. – Lemony Snicket
  • You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. – Ray Bradbury
  • The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries. – Descartes
  • I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. – Orhan Pamuk
  • People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading. – Logan Pearsall Smith
  • Today a reader, tomorrow a leader. – Margaret Fuller
  • Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life. – Fernando Pessoa
  • There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. – Walt Disney
  • Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them. – Arnold Lobel
  • There is nothing more luxurious than eating while you read—unless it be reading while you eat. – E. Nesbit
  • One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time. – Carl Sagan
  • Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand. – Ezra Pound
  • If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. – P.J. O’Rourke
  • Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book. – Jane Smiley
  • Wear the old coat and buy the new book. – Austin Phelps
  • Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. – Dr. Seuss
  • Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world. – Napoléon Bonaparte
  • A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say. – Italo Calvino
  • Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere. – Mary Schmich
  • No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. – Mary Wortley Montagu
  • If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books. – Roald Dahl
  • To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. – W. Somerset Maugham
  • Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book. – Bill Watterson
  • These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone. – Roald Dahl
  • I guess there are never enough books. – John Steinbeck
  • Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait on line for Santa, or some such inconvenience. – David Levithan
  • I always read. You know how sharks have to keep swimming or they die? I’m like that. If I stop reading, I die. – Patrick Rothfuss
  • Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for. – Socrates
  • For my whole life, my favorite activity was reading. It’s not the most social pastime. – Audrey Hepburn
  • Reading for me, is spending time with a friend. – Gary Paulsen
  • Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents. – Epictetus
  • There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. – Doris Lessing
  • Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become. – C.S. Lewis
  • All I have learned, I learned from books.- Abrahham Lincoln
  • The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming. – Cheryl Strayed
  • I read, I say. I study and read. I bet I’ve read everything you read. Don’t think I haven’t. I consume libraries. I wear out spines and ROM-drives. I do things like get in a taxi and say, The library, and step on it. My instincts concerning syntax and mechanics are better than your own, I can tell, with all due respect. But it transcends the mechanics. I’m not a machine. I feel and believe. I have opinions. Some of them are interesting. I could, if you’d let me, talk and talk. – David Foster Wallace
  • Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then Roosevelt set off in a borrowed wagon to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. They headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the railhead at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, the entire 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in Roosevelt’s eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina. I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read. – David McCullough
  • She remembered one of her boyfriends asking, offhandedly, how many books she read in a year. A few hundred, she said.
    “How do you have the time?” he asked, gobsmacked.
    She narrowed her eyes and considered the array of potential answers in front of her. Because I don’t spend hours flipping through cable complaining there’s nothing on? Because my entire Sunday is not eaten up with pre-game, in-game, and post-game talking heads? Because I do not spend every night drinking overpriced beer and engaging in dick-swinging contests with the other financirati? Because when I am waiting in line, at the gym, on the train, eating lunch, I am not complaining about the wait/staring into space/admiring myself in reflective surfaces? I am reading!
    “I don’t know”, she said, shrugging.- Eleanor Brown
  • When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman. – Virgnia Woolf
  • Personally, I am a hedonistic reader; I have never read a book merely because it was ancient. I read books for the aesthetic emotions they offer me, and I ignore the commentaries and criticism. – Jorge Luis Borge
  • He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all. – Laini Taylor
  • You forget everything. The hours slip by. You travel in your chair through centuries you seem seem to see before you, your thoughts are caught up in the story, dallying with the details or following the course of the plot, you enter into characters, so that it seems as if it were your own heart beating beneath their costumes.- Gustave Flaubert
  • You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it. – Adrienne Rich
  • 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
  • I’m always amazed at friends who say they try to read at night in bed but always end up falling asleep. I have the opposite problem. If a book is good I can’t go to sleep, and stay up way past my bedtime, hooked on the writing. Is anything better than waking up after a late-night read and diving right back into the plot before you even get out of bed to brush your teeth? – John Waters
  • I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough…the more one reads the more one sees we have to read. – John Adams
  • I go to bed early and rise late and feel as if I have hardly slept, probably because I have been reading almost the entire time. – Lemony Snicket
  • Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic. – Henry James
  • You don’t read Gatsby, I said, to learn whether adultery is good or bad but to learn about how complicated issues such as adultery and fidelity and marriage are. A great novel heightens your senses and sensitivity to the complexities of life and of individuals, and prevents you from the self-righteousness that sees morality in fixed formulas about good and evil. – Azar Nafisi
  • When I am king they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved. – Mark Twain
  • Perhaps it is true that at base we readers are dissatisfied people, yearning to be elsewhere, to live vicariously through words in a way we cannot live directly through life. Perhaps we are the world’s great nomads, if only in our minds…I am the sort of person who prefers to stay at home, surrounded by family, friends, familiarity, books…It turns out that when my younger self thought of taking wing, she wanted only to let her spirit soar. Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home. – Anna Quindlen
  • Yet there was always in me, even when I was very small, the sense that I ought to be somewhere else. And wander I did, although, in my everyday life, I had nowhere to go and no imaginable reason on earth why I should want to leave. The buses took to the interstate without me, the trains sped by. So I wandered the world through books. I went to Victorian England in the pages of ‘Middlemarch’ and ‘A little Princess’, and to Saint Petersburg before the fall of the tsar with ‘Anna Karenina’. I went to Tara, and Manderley, and Thornfield Hall, all those great houses, with their high ceilings and high drama, as I read ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘Rebecca’ and ‘Jane Eyre’. – Anna Quindlen
  • The world of literature has everything in it, and it refuses to leave anything out. I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language. Because of them I rode with Don Quixote and danced with Anna Karenina at a ball in St. Petersburg and lassoed a steer in Lonesome Dove and had nightmares about slavery in Beloved and walked the streets of Dublin in Ulysses and made up a hundred stories in the Arabian nights and saw my mother killed by a baseball in A Prayer for Owen Meany. I’ve been in ten thousand cities and have introduced myself to a hundred thousand strangers in my exuberant reading career, all because I listened to my fabulous English teachers and soaked up every single thing those magnificent men and women had to give. I cherish and praise them and thank them for finding me when I was a boy and presenting me with the precious gift of the English language.  – Pat Conroy
  • It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon, there’s a couple lying naked in bed reading Encyclopediea Brittannica to each other, and arguing about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is more ‘numinous’ than the Ressurection. Do they know how to have a good time, or don’t they? – Carl Sagan
  • But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they’re bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they’re good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch. – Vikram Seth
  • I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score and the billion. I carried so many home I was hunchbacked for years. Philosophy, art history, politics, social science, the poem, the essay, the grandiose play, you name ’em, I ate ’em. – Ray Bradbury
  • If you spend enough time reading or writing, you find a voice, but you also find certain tastes. You find certain writers who when they write, it makes your own brain voice like a tuning fork, and you just resonate with them. And when that happens, reading those writers—not all of whom are modern . . . I mean, if you are willing to make allowances for the way English has changed, you can go way, way back with this— becomes a source of unbelievable joy. It’s like eating candy for the soul. So probably the smart thing to say is that lucky people develop a relationship with a certain kind of art that becomes spiritual, almost religious, and doesn’t mean, you know, church stuff, but it means you’re just never the same. – David Foster Wallace
  • I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses. My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind… and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much, Jon Snow. – George RR Martin
  • Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and do it. – Lana Del Ray
  • Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song. – Jorge Luis Borge
  • And most of all, books. They were, in and of themselves, reasons to stay alive. Every book written is the product of a human mind in a particular state. Add all the books together and you get the end sum of humanity. Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself. – Matt Haig
  • Do they sense it, these dead writers, when their books are read? Does a pinprick of light appear in their darkness? Is their soul stirred by the feather touch of another mind reading theirs? I do hope so.  – Diane Setterfield
  • In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads–and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out. – Charles Munger
  • A public library is the most democratic thing in the world. What can be found there has undone dictators and tyrants: demagogues can persecute writers and tell them what to write as much as they like, but they cannot vanish what has been written in the past, though they try often enough…People who love literature have at least part of their minds immune from indoctrination. If you read, you can learn to think for yourself. – Dorris Lessing
  • Artists exist to show us the world. So do windows. – Jarod Kintz
  • A wise reader reads the book of genius not with his heart, not so much with his brain, but with his spine. It is there that occurs the telltale tingle… – Vladimir Nabokov
  • You’ve got the look of a girl who’s no stranger to the page. I can tell. You’ve got words in your soul. – Jay Jristoff
  • I had found my religion: nothing seemed more important to me than a book. I saw the library as a temple. – Jean Paul Sartre
  • The art of reading and studying consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting what is not essential. – Adolf Hitler
  • If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads. – Sherman ALexie
  • If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads. – Ezra Pound
  • I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read. – Samuel Johnson
  • She read books quickly and compulsively, paperback after paperback, as if she might drift away without the anchor of the printed page. – Jane Hamilton
  • The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough. – John Adams
  • I hate when people ask what a book is about. People who read for plot, people who suck out the story like the cream filling in an Oreo, should stick to comic strips and soap operas. . . . Every book worth a damn is about emotions and love and death and pain. It’s about words. It’s about a man dealing with life. Okay? – J.R. Moehringer
  • The taste for books was an early one. As a child he was sometimes found at midnight by a page still reading. They took his taper away, and he bred glow-worms to serve his purpose. They took the glow-worms away and he almost burnt the house down with a tinder. – Virginia Woolf
  • But the problem with readers, the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principle is, I should sit here and I should be entertained. And the more classical model, which has been completely taken away, is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know, who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and that the artist gives you. That’s the incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true. – Zadie Smith
  • Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them. – Samuel Butler
  • Time spent reading, like time spent loving, increases our lifetime. – Daniel Pennac
  • I figured I could read more than five pages tonight since I’d been deprived for the last couple of days. When I finished the fifteenth, I discovered I was three pages from the next chapter. Might as well end with a clean break. After I was done, I sighed and leaned back, feeling decadent and spent. Pure bliss. Books were a lot less messy than orgasms. – Richelle Mead
  • There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading — that is a good life. – Annie Dillard
  • I’ll read anything since I’m something of a book slut. – Nick Knight
  • The questions I would have liked to ask people were: ‘Are you in love? What are you reading? – Francoise Sagan
  • And when I read, and really I do not read so much, only a few authors, – a few men that I discovered by accident – I do this because they look at things in a broader, milder and more affectionate way than I do, and because they know life better, so that I can learn from them. – Vincent Van Gogh
  • The book thief has struck for the first time – the beginning of an illustrious career. – Markus Zusak
  • It’s up to you how you waste your time and money. I’m staying here to read: life’s too short. – Carlos Zafon
  • A philosophy professor at my college, whose baby became enamored of the portrait of David Hume on a Penguin paperback, had the cover laminated in plastic so her daughter could cut her teeth on the great thinker. – Anne Fadiman
  • What made me be a writer was that I was a passionate reader. I began reading at a very, very early age, and I’ve been a reading junkie ever since — I read all the time. I probably spend more time reading than any other thing I’ve done in my life, including sleeping. I’ve spent many, many days of my life reading eight and ten hours a day, and there’s no day that I don’t read for hours, and don’t ask me how I can do all the other things — I don’t know. The day has pockets — you can always find time to read. – Susan Sontag