Great Books Quotes

By elevating your reading, you will improve your writing
or at least tickle your thinking.”
~ William Safire
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It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.  ~Oscar Wilde
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The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.  ~Attributed to Mark Twain
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Nothing is worth reading that does not require an alert mind.  ~Charles Dudley Warner
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To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations – such is a pleasure beyond compare.  ~Kenko Yoshida
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All books are divisible into two classes,
the books of the hour, and the books of all time.
~ John Ruskin
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Books….are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with ’em,
then we grow out of ’em and leave ’em behind,
as evidence of our earlier stages of development. (1928)
~ Dorothy Sayers
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I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  ~Groucho Marx
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The books that help you most are those which make you think the most.
The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading;
but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of
thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.
~ Theodore Parker
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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~Anna Quindlen, “Enough Bookshelves,” New York Times, 7 August 1991
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  ~Author Unknown
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All books are divisible into two classes,
the books of the hour, and the books of all time.
~ John Ruskin
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A good book has no ending.  ~R.D. Cumming
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Read the best books first,
or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
~ Henry David Thoreau
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In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time: the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.  ~Thomas Carlyle
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When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.  ~Clifton Fadiman
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He who destroys a good book kills reason itself. ~ John Milton
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Be sure that you go to the author to get at his meaning, not to find yours.  ~ John Ruskin
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Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life.  ~Jesse Lee Bennett
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In science, read by preference the newest works.
In literature, read the oldest.
The classics are always modern.
~ Lord Edward Lytton
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Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.  ~Harper Lee
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If you have never said “Excuse me” to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time.  ~Sherri Chasin Calvo
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Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.  ~Jessamyn West
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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 a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.  ~Edward P. Morgan
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Books: The scholar only knows how dear these silent, yet eloquent, companions of pure thoughts and innocent hours become in the season of adversity.  When all that is worldly turns to dross around us, these only retain their steady value.  ~Washington Irving
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A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.  ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958
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By elevating your reading, you will improve your writing
or at least tickle your thinking.”
~ William Safire
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A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog’s ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins.  ~Charles Lamb, Last Essays of Elia, 1833
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Upon books the collective education of the race depends;
they are the sole instruments of registering,
perpetuating and transmitting thought.
~ Henry C. Rogers
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It is not enough to simply teach children to read;
we have to give them something worth reading.
Something that will stretch their imaginations-
something that will help them make sense of their own lives
and encourage them to reach out toward people
whose lives are quite different from their own.
~ Katherine Paterson
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How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.  ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden
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Choose an author as you choose a friend.  ~ Sir Christopher Wren
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No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books.  ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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A house without books is like a room without windows.  ~Heinrich Mann
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No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.  ~ Lady M. W. Montague
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The books that help you most are those which make you think that most.
The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading;
but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of
thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.
~ Theodore Parkers
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Books are the treasured wealth of the world
and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
~ Henry David Thoreau
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The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  ~James Bryce
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“Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are” is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.  ~François Mauriac
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When you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life.  Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.  ~Christopher Morley
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Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.  ~James Russell Lowell
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It is no more necessary that a man should remember the different
dinners and suppers which have made him healthy, than the different
books which have made him wise. Let us see the results of good food
in a strong body, and the results of great reading in a full and powerful mind.
~ Sydney Smith
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The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.
~ Dr. Seuss
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I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.  ~E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, 1951
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If you resist reading what you disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe?  The things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our convictions.  ~Author Unknown
Some of the most famous books are the least worth reading.
Their fame was due to their having done something
that needed to be doing in their day.
The work is done and the virtue of the book has expired.
~ John Morely
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I’ve never known any trouble that an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.  ~ Montesquieu
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Books – the best antidote against the marsh-gas of boredom and vacuity.  ~George Steiner
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Resolve to edge in a little reading every day,
if it is but a single sentence.
If you gain fifteen minutes a day,
it will make itself felt at the end of the year.
~ Horace Mann
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My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.  ~Thomas Helm
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There are books so alive that you’re always afraid that while you weren’t reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away.  No one has stepped twice into the same river.  But did anyone ever step twice into the same book?  ~Marina Tsvetaeva
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Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.”  ~Helen Exley
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Books: I have friends whose society is delightful to me; they are persons of all countries and of all ages; distinguished in war, in council, and in letters; easy to live with, always at my command.  ~Francesco Petrarch
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The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.  ~Andrew Ross
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TV.  If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they’ll have with twenty-six.  Open your child’s imagination.  Open a book.  ~Author Unknown
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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 of a button 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
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The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one’s encounter with it in a book.  ~André Maurois
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I often derive a peculiar satisfaction in conversing with the ancient and modern dead, – who yet live and speak excellently in their works.  My neighbors think me often alone, – and yet at such times I am in company with more than five hundred mutes – each of whom, at my pleasure, communicates his ideas to me by dumb signs – quite as intelligently as any person living can do by uttering of words.  ~Laurence Sterne
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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
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Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one
at the end of a long day makes the day happier.
~ Kathleen Norris
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Reading makes immigrants of us all.
It takes us away from home, but more important,
it finds homes for us everywhere.
~ Hazel Rochman
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Education… has produced a vast population able to read
but unable to distinguish what is worth reading,
an easy prey to sensations and cheap appeals.
~ G. M. Trevelyan
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Never read a book through merely because you have begun it.
John Witherspoon