*(ScholarIsland is a Friend of the New Bibliotheca Alexandrina USA) 


A Good Collection of Books is a University Itself



"Everything in the cosmos exists in order to emerge as a book. "

            Stephane Mallarme


"The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries."

-Rene Descartes


"The proper study of mankind is books."

-Aldous Huxley



"A great book is one that has meaning, and continues to have meaning, for a variety of people over a long period of time.."

-John Erskine


"My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read."

-Abraham Lincoln



"A Book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors."

-Henry Ward Beecher


   "Books do more than decorate a room. They make it inviting. They give it personality. A home without books is like a body without a soul. Books are friends, comforters, and counselors, repositories of wisdom; sources of ideas. A good collection of books is a university in itself. If I visit a home without them, I feel cheated.

   Why? Because I can spend three minutes looking at your bookshelves and learn more about your taste and interests than I could in  half-dozen leisurely dinner conversations. Your personal library (ahem) speaks volumes.

Alexander Green

beyond wealth


"How our life has been warped by books! We are not contented with realities: we crave conclusions."

-David Grayson


"He that studies books alone will know how things ought to be; and he who studies men will know how they are."

-Charles Caleb Colton


"Of all the inanimate objects, of all men's creations , books are the nearest to us, for they contain our very thought, our ambitions, our indignation, our illusions, our fidelity to truth, and our persistent leaning towards error. "

            Joseph Conrad


"Book Love, my friends, is your pass to the greatest, the purest, and the most perfect pleasure that God has prepared for his creatures. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will support you when all other recreations are gone. It will last until your death. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live."

Anthony Trollope


""You know I think, the joy of getting into a strange country in a book at home when I have shut my door and the town is in bed-and I know that nothing, not even the dawn-can disturb me in my curtains....Why does one not like things if there are other people about? Why cannot one make one's books live except in the night, after hours of straining?.....If you can get the right book at the right time you taste joys-not only bodily, physical, but spiritual also, which pass one out above and beyond one's miserable self."

-T.E. Lawrence  letter to his Mother


"Of the many worlds which man did not receive as a gift of nature, but which he created with his own spirit, the world of books is the greatest."

Herman Hesse


"Get stewed:/Books are a load of crap."

-Philip Larkin



"I don't like to read books; they muss up my mind."

-Henry Ford



"We find little in a book but what we put there. But in great books, the mind finds room to put many things."



"A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable part of a man's history. It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury but one of the necessaries of life."

H.W. Beecher


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



"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us"



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

-Joseph Alexandrovich Brodsky



"Weak men are the worse for the good sense they read in books because it furnisheth them only with more matter to mistake."

Marquess of Halifax

Moral thoughts and reflections, late 17th century


"Knowledge should be a compound of what we derive from books, and what we extract by our observation, from the living world around us. Both of these are necessary to the well-informed man....The man who can combine the teachings of books with strong and close observation of life, deserves the name of well-informed man, and presents a model worthy of imitation."

-Sir Thomas Lipton


"The number of lunatic books is as finite as the number of lunatics."

Lewis Carroll


"I can well remember, when an asserted intimacy with the writings of Thomas Paine marked a man from his fellows and invested him in children's minds with a horrible fascination. The writings themselves were only seen in bookshops of an evil reputation, and, when hastily turned over with furtive glances, proved to be printed in small type and on villainous paper."

-Augustine Birrell  (critic writing about a century ago)


   "A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable part of a man's history. It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury but one of the necessaries of life."

H.W. Beecher


"We are too civil to books. For a few golden sentences we will turn over and actually read a volume of four or five hundred pages."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


"You despise books, you whose lives are absorbed in the vanities of ambition, the pursuit of pleasure, or in indolence; but remember that all the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books."



"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




"I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once."

C.S. Lewis


"Books and marriage go ill together."



"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 gone ourselves."

E.M. Forester


"There can hardly be a stranger commodity in the world than books. Printed by people who don't understand them; sold by people who don't understand them; bound, criticized and read by people who don't understand them; and now even written by people who don't understand them."


Aphorisms, 1764-99


"Never disregard a book because the author of it is a foolish fellow."

Lord Melbourne


"I think that the Soul at times is like a book."



"Without words, without writing, and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity."

Herman Hesse



"Some books seem to have been written, not to teach us anything, but to let us know that the author has known something."



"The Classics! it is the Classics, and not the Goths nor Monks, that Desolate Europe with Wars."

Blake, 'On Homer's Poetry and on Virgil'



"They are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. The greatest misfortune that ever befell man man was the invention of printing."

Benjamin Disraeli


"The books one reads in childhood, and perhaps most of all the bad and good bad books, create in one's mind a sort of false map of the world, a series of fabulous countries into which one can retreat at odd moments throughout the rest of life, and which in some cases can even survive a visit to the real countries which they are supposed to represent."

George Orwell



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

Emily Dickinson



"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, interesting."

            Aldous Huxley


"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


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

            Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)



"The right book at the right time may mean more in a person's life than anything else."

Lee Shippey


"Books seem to me to be pestilent things, and infect all that trade in them....with something very perverse and brutal. Printers, binders, sellers, and others that make a trade and gain out of them have universally so odd a turn and corruption of mind that they have a way of dealing peculiar to themselves, and not conformed to the good of society and that general fairness which cements mankind."

John Locke


"Books are the best of things, well used: abused, amongst the worst. What is the right use? What is the one end which all means go to effect? They are for nothing but to inspire. I had better never see a book than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite in- stead of a system."



"There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margin, are more interesting that the text. The world is one of those books."

George Santayana   Realms of Being


"Christians, Jews, and Muslims are known as the People of the Book. Pagans, however, have always realized that one book is never enough. Pagans are not the people of the book; Pagans are the people of the Library."

Steven Posch


   "At its pinnacle during the thirteenth century the Cairo library contained some two million books. The library in Tripoli housed an even greater amount. Untold millions of books could be found in the libraries of Spain. Other uncountable manuscripts existed in the public libraries of Spain. Other uncountable manuscripts existed in the public libraries of Baghdad, Mosul, Rayy, Samarkand, Aleppo, Tripoli, and Damascus. Private libraries of rulers, dignitaries, and scholars contained thousands and in some instances hundreds of thousands of books each. The 5 million books which existed within the libraries of Cairo and Tripoli alone represented an incredibly large amount for such an early era. Thus, tens of millions of books were distributed throughout the wide extent of the Islamic Empire. Perhaps even more astounding is the fact that virtually of all these books were hand written. In contrast, today's New York Public Library, the world's largest, houses some million mass printed books."

Dr. Kasem Khaleel

The Arabian Connection: A Conspiracy Against Humanity



"The books do not matter; the night is closing in, and it is too dark to read books. Faintly against the fading firelight can be traced the prehistoric outlines of the man and the dog."

            G.K. Chesterton



"Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought & speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, and (as a poet has said) 'lighthouses 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


"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  A.D. 70


"A library may be very large; but if it is in disorder; it is not so useful as one that is small but well arranged. In the same way , a man may have a great mass of knowledge, but if he has not worked it up by thinking it over for himself, it has much less value than a far smaller amount which he has thoroughly pondered. For it is only when a man looks at his knowledge from all sides, and combines the things he knows by comparing truth with truth, that he obtains a complete hold over it and gets it into his power. A man cannot turn over anything in his mind unless he knows it; he should , therefore, learn something; but it is only when he has turned it over that he can be said to know it. "



"Retired to the peace of this desert,

with a collection of books that are few but wise,

I live in conversation with the departed

and listen to the dead with my eyes."



"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


"What a convenient and delightful world is this world of books!-if you bring to it not the obligations of the student, or look upon it as an opiate for idleness, but enter it rather with the enthusiasm of the adventurer!"

-David Grayson  Adventures in Contentment (1907)


"The most difficult thing to explain is the insight about books, because they are too familiar. Every literate person has lived with books from the age of two. So it sounds a truism to say that books are man's most spectacular spiritual achievement. It is nevertheless true. Man has learned to conquer time through the written word. It explains the accelerated evolution of our civilization. After all, civilizations evolve through the agency of extraordinary men. Who can doubt that the great milestones in human history were the work of single extraordinary individuals: the discovery of fire, of the wheel, of smelting iron, of living by husbandry rather than hunting? Or the extra- ordinary individual might be a teacher or prophet, a Socrates, a Mohammed, a Savonarola. But before the invention of printing the influence of such an individual was small. If, like Savonarola, he preached from a pulpit, only the people in his own city benefited much, and the few who could travel to hear him. The invention of books suddenly meant that the influence of the extraordinary individuals could be spread over the whole nation or civilization. Like radio or television, it was fundamentally a method of broadcasting. Before printing, the Master had a few disciples who benefited from his teaching; now 'any one could benefit who was capable of grasping its essence.  Inglorious Milton's' could study under Homer and Virgil. Books represented the release of immense spiritual resources in mankind just as oil derricks represented the release of physical resources in the world. Through books, man has conquered time. The insights of poets and saints are still alive. For two million years, man ascended the evolutionary ladder slowly and painfully, changing hardly more than the ape or the horse. with the invention of books, he took a gigantic step in the realm of the gods.

            Colin Wilson
            The Philosopher's Stone
            Wingbow pub


A book may be full of errors, we can reject the author's opinions, disagree with him about everything, but the book always retains a sacred quality, something immortal, something divine which makes us happy."

            Jorge Luis Borges
            Horizon June 1981


"There are those who speak of the eventual disappearance of books; they assure us that modern means of communication will bury books in favor of something more dynamic which will require less of a man's time than what is taken up by reading. Do you want to know what I think of that? I believe books will never disappear. It is impossible for it to happen. Of all of mankind's diverse tools, undoubtedly the most astonishing are his books. All the others are extensions of the body. The telephone is an extension of his voice; the telescope and microscope extensions of his sight; the sword and the plow are extensions ,of his arms. In Caesar and Cleopatra, when Bernard Shaw refers to the Library of Alexandria, he says it is mankind's memory. I would add it is also mankind's imagination. Humanity's vigils have generated infinite pages of in- finite books. Mankind owes all that we are to the written word. Why? what is our past but a succession of dreams? What difference is there between remembering dreams and recalling the past? Books are the great memory of the centuries. Consequently their function is irreplaceable. If books were to disappear, history would disappear, So would men. "If I were a prince, I would hire or buy a private literary tea-pot, in which I would steep all the leaves of new books that promised well. The infusion would do for me without the vegetable fiber. You understand me; I would have a person whose sole business should be to read day, and night, and talk to me whenever I wanted him to. I know the man I would have: a quick-witted, out-spoken, incisive fellow; knows history, or at any rate has a shelf full of books about it, which he can use handily, and the same of all useful arts and sciences; knows all the common plots of plays and novels, and the stock company of characters that are continually coming on in new costume; can give you a criticism of an octavo in an epithet and a wink, and you can depend on it; cares for nobody except for the virtue there is in what he says: delights in taking off big wigs and professional gowns, and in the disembalming and unbandaging of all literary mummies. Yet he is as tender and reverential to all that bears the mark of genius,-that is, of a new, influx of truth or beauty,-as a nun over her missal. In short, he is one of those men that know everything except how to make a living." Him would I keep on the square next my own royal compartment on life's chessboard. To him I would push up another pawn, in the shape of a comely and wise young woman, whom he would of course take- to wife. For all contingencies I would liberally provide. In a word, I would, in the plebian, but expressive phrase, "put him through" all the material part of lifer see him sheltered, warmed ' fed, button-mended, and all that, just to be able to lay on his talk when I liked, with the privilege of shutting it off at will.

            Oliver Wendell Holmes
           The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table


"A Book is a medium that outlives human rivalries and forever stands as a silent guardian of the thoughts of its author,"

            Lucille Mott


"Among the many worlds which man did not receive as a gift of nature, but which he created out of his own mind, the world of books is the greatest.....Without the word, without the writing of books, there is no history, there is no concept of humanity. And if anyone wants to try to enclose in a small space in a single house or single room, the history of the human spirit and to make it his own, he can only do this in the form of a collection of books."

-Hermann Hesse, "The Magic of the Book," My Belief: Essays on Life and Art


"I''ve always felt that the stories we tell ourselves about the books which we only know slightly and fleetingly, by rumor or inflationary report, end up being even more "influential" than the works we encounter full on, absorb judge and come to occupy some balanced relation with. From those books we absorb the unquestioned laws of genre....conventional attitudes and expectations. From the others, however, we manufacture the dream of possibility, of variation, of what might be done outside and beyond."

-Samuel Delany The Motion of Light on Water


  "You know sometimes when you meet someone, and somehow, before they even open their mouth to speak, you know that you are going to be friends? It's the same with books. With some books, you see someone reading them on the bus or in the bookshop or the library and you know that that one-that one there-is the book you should be reading right at this very moment. Not a book you ought to read, but a book you have to read. These books tap you on the shoulder as you go past them in a shop and you glance at them and you just find yourself thinking, Well, isn't that interesting? And before you know it you've just had to buy them and take them home to see what they are trying so hard to tell you, and the second you start reading them they grab you by the lapels and won't let go. Books you reread from the start the moment you have finished them. Books you wish you could read more slowly but no matter how hard you try you just can't. Books you buy up in bulk at Christmas to give to everyone you have ever known, or that you lend to an old college friend even though you know he reads books only after running them over with a motorcycle and giving them to the dog to chew for a couple of months so that if you do ever get them back the backs will have fallen off, the covers will be ripped and pages 38 through 46 will be missing. Books that put you in touch with something real. Books that you get. Books that get you."

Dominic Streatfeild

Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography  (This is just such a book..ed)


"Graphomania (an obsession with writing books) takes on the proportions of a mass epidemic whenever a society develops to the point where it can provide three basic conditions

1. a high enough degree of general well-being to enable people to devote their energies to useless activities;

2. an advanced state of social atomization and the resultant general feeling of isolation of the individual;

9. a radical absence of significant social change in the internal development of the nation (In this connection I find it symptomatic that in France, a country where nothing really happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel. Bibi was absolutely right when she claimed never to have experienced anything 'from the outside, ' It is this absence of content, this void, that powers the motor driving her to write),

            Miulam Kundera
            The Book of Laughter and Forgetting



"The proliferation of mass graphomania among politicians, cab drivers, women on the delivery table, mistresses, murderers, criminals, prostitutes, police chiefs, doctors and patients proves to me that every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself and that all mankind has every right to rush out into the streets with a cry of "we are all writers! The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact he will disappear unheard of and unnoticed in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before its too late. Once the writer is every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."

            Milam kundera
            The book of Laughter and Forgetting



"Books, books, these are the only things that have come to my aid! In the end, it makes one terribly arrogant, always to do without one's equals!"

            Marie Leneru


"I've always had a passion for books, I believe it's a passion for life. I read newspapers in order to get news, anecdotes, and I read books in order to know life-not to forget it, but to share it with others. When I open a book, I get the impression that I'm not only with the person who wrote it, but with everyone who has found out about the writer, with everyone who has found out what the writer means, reconstructed the thoughts, discovered the analysis, a particular approach to the world. Frankly, I don't expect an author who has written a magnificent book to be magnificent; what matters is the work. I've lived long enough to know that I'm capable of amazing things, but that doesn't mean I'm always amazing. Why should I expect an exceptional author to be an exceptional person?

-jeanne Moreau


   "There are those who distinguish between good books and interesting books, apparently on the theory good books are for critics and professors while interesting books are for them. But in the only practical view, "good" means "interesting." The best book, the greatest book, is surely the most interesting one and, if it happens to be an old one, has long been so. That is the only meaning its reputation can have. Otherwise we should have to assume a conspiracy to keep it alive; whereas nothing can keep a book alive except the body of its readers. What keeps Shakespeare alive if it is not the conviction of those who read him that he is interesting to a depth not elsewhere sounded?"

Mark Van Doren


"For books are more than books, they are the life the very heart and core of ages past, The reason why men lived and worked and dyed , The essence and quintessence of their lives,"

            Amy Lowell



"All books are either dreams or swords,
You can cut, or you can drug with words,"

            Amy Lowell



"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."

            Helen Keller
            The Story of My Life 1903



"Read not to contradict and confuse; nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."



"Readin's an art of head and heart-
Never a thief of time."

            Frank Channing Haddock


"Except a living man, there is nothing more wonderful than a book!
A message to us from the dead-from human souls we never saw, who lived, perhaps thousands of miles away. And yet there, in those little sheets of paper, speak to us, arouse us, terrify us, teach us, comfort us, open their hearts to us as brothers."

            Charles Kingsley



"Reading is like sex. It is often undertaken in bed, and people are not inclined to underestimate either the extent or the effectiveness of their activity."

            Daniel Boorstin


"Things printed can never be stopped; they are like babies baptized, they have a soul from that moment, and go on forever. "




"If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them-peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set then back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends let them at any rate be your acquaintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition."

            Winston Churchill

             Painting as a Pastime

"Any ordinary man can….surround himself with two thousand books and thenceforward have at least one place in the world in which it is possible to be happy."

            Augustine Birrell (1850-1933))



"My home is where my books are."

            Ellen Thompson


"I believe I belong to the last literary generation, the last generation, that is, for whom books are a religion."

            Erica Jong


""Men die; devices change; success and fame run their course. But within the walls of even the smallest library in our land lie the treasures, the wisdom and the wonder of man's greatest adventures on this earth."

-Leo Rosten


"I never cease learning amazing things from books!"

            Peter Garrison


"Some books are drenched sands on which a great soul's wealth lies all in heaps, like a wrecked argosy."

Alexander Smith (1830-67)


"Things printed can never be stopped; they are like babies baptized, they have a soul from that moment, and go on forever."



"You can never read bad literature too little, nor good literature too much. Bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind. Because people always read what is new instead of the best of all ages, writers remain in the narrow circle of the ideas which happen to prevail in their time; and so the period sinks deeper and deeper into its own mire.




"I say, of all the priesthoods, aristocracies-governing classes at present extant in the world-there is no class comparable for importance to priesthood of the writers of books."



"The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking.

            Christopher Morley


A Book is a medium that outlives human rivalries and forever stands as a silent guardian of the thoughts of its author."

            Lucille Nott



"Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation, as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn."

            Joseph Addison, (The Spectator, Sept 10, 1711)



"The proper study of mankind is books."

Aldous Huxley


"All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been; it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of Books. They are the chosen possession of men."



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

            Kathleen Norris


"books come at my call and return when I desire them; they are never out of humor and they answer all my questions with readiness. Some present in review before me the events of past ages; others reveal to me the secrets of Nature. These teach me how to live, and those how to die; these dispel my melancholy by their mirth, and amuse me by their sallies of wit. Some there are who prepare my soul to suffer everything, to desire nothing, and to come thoroughly acquainted with itself. In a word, they open the door to all the arts and sciences."



"What a convenient and delightful world is this world of books-if you bring to it not the obligations of the student, or look upon it as an opiate for idleness, but enter it rather with the enthusiasm of the adventurer."

            David Grayson
            Adventures in Contentment (1907)


"I love to lose myself in other men's minds. When I am not walking. I am reading; I cannot sit and think. Books think for me."

            Charles Lamb
            Detached thoughts on Books and Reading     (1833)


"Books succeed, and lives fail."

            Elizabeth Barrett Browning


"When one can read, one can penetrate the enchanted realm of books, why write?



"Certain books form a treasure, a basis, once read they will serve you for the rest of your lives."

            Ezra Pound


"Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem to be confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart."


"Reading is the work of the alert mind, is demanding. and under ideal conditions produces finally a sort or ecstasy. This gives the experience of reading a sublimity and power unequaled by any other form of communication."

            Elwyn Brooks White

Silent reading is a relatively new invention


 "People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."

            Logan Pearsall Smith


"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life."

            W. Somerset Maugham


"Reading is an intimate act, perhaps more intimate than any other human act."

            Harold Brodkey

"Like the bodies of dancers or athletes. the minds of readers are genuinely happy and self-possessed only when cavorting around, doing their stretches and leaps and jumps to the tune of words."

            Lynne Sharon Schwartz


"No one is supposed to tell others what is good. I tell you what is good. You can't live, you can't mesh with this world. unless you read....
We are not only a body and a bowel. People who bring children into the world and are not prepared to feed their brains are, in my philosophy. ignoble....The idiots who run TV. and look at the ratings, think people are pleased at the low, hypnotic and opiate level....You're in for trouble....You're vulnerable. For God's sake, take Hamlet's advice-readiness is all."

            Dr. Frank Baxter



"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island....And best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life."

            Walt Disney


"It is not true that we have only one life to live: if we can read. we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish."

            S.I. Hayakawa


"Among the many worlds that man did not receive as a gift from nature but created out of his own mind. the world of books is the greatest."

            Herman Hesse


"...He who has lived quietly among his books often emerges from the four walls of his study with more inner strength than he who has spent his youth shouting in the market-place; and it is in such places that one is perhaps more aware than anywhere else of a universal solidarity among men, even if they belong to remote civilizations."

            Fosco Maraini
            Secret Tibet

"Books are the treasured wealth of the world."



"More important than the professors were the books in the Bodlelan and college libraries, and Lawrence took full advantage of them. He read half a dozen books a day. and looked at perhaps twenty more, a good bookman can riffle through seven or eight thousand books a year. Lawrence claimed that in his six years at the University he read practically all the 5,.000 books in the Oxford Union Library. It was not a very wild claim: there are many addicts of reading who have read even more."

            Robert Payne
            Lawrence of Arabia


Our libraries are not cloisters for an elite. They are for the people, and if they are not used, the fault belongs to those who do not take advantage of their wealth. If one does not move on from what merely amuses to what interests, the fault lies in the reader, for everything is there."

            Louis L'Amour


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. Mighty fleets and. armies, harbors and arsenals, vast cities, high-domed, many-engined, they are precious, great:  but what do they become? Agamemnon. the many Agamemnons, Pericleses, and their Greece; all is gone now to some ruined fragments. dumb mournful wrecks and blocks; but the flocks of Greece! There Greece, to every thinker. still very literally lives; can be called-up again into life; No magic Rune is stranger than a book. All that Mankind has done, thought, gained. been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of Books. They are the chosen possession of men. Do not Books still accomplish what miracles were fabled to do?".

            Thomas Carlyle    1840


"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

           -Pablo Neruda ?(not sure on this...some say Theodore Parker?)


A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them. It is a wrong to his family. Children learn to read by being in the presence of books. The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it. And the love of knowledge. in a young mind, is almost a warrant against the inferior excitement of passions and vices."

            Horace Mann


"The multitude of books is making us ignorant."



Books are fatal; they are the curse of the human race. Nine tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense.

            Benjamin Disraeli


"Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading."

            George Macaulay Trevelyan


"The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything."



"A book may be as great a thing as a battle."

            Benjamin Disraeli


"Many times the reading of a book has made the fortune of the man-has decided his way of life."

            Ralph Waldo Emerson


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

            Elizabeth Browning


"Today, we swim in a sea of media information. We are surrounded by data, by trivia. Where is wisdom to be found? In books."

-Alexander Green



"There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

            Jacqueline Kennedy


"The duty of literature is to note what counts, and to light up what is suited to the light. If it ceases to choose and to love, it becomes like a woman who gives herself without preference."

            Anatole France


These are the masters who instruct us without clothes and money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if investigating you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake them. they never grumble; if you are ignorant, they cannot laugh at you. The library, therefore, is wisdom more precious than all riches, and nothing that can be wished for is worthy to be compared with it. Whosoever therefore acknowledge himself to be a zealous follower of truth, of happiness, of wisdom or science, or even of faith, must of necessity make himself a lover of books.

            Richard de Bury 1344


"Only three or four books in a lifetime give us anything that is of real importance."

            Marcel Proust


"A book is all history. Everything about it takes one back in time-from the way it is produced to its linear mode of exposition to the fact that past tense is its most comfortable form of address. As no other medium before or since. the book promotes a sense of a coherent and usable past. In a conversation of books, history, as Carlyle under stood it, is not only a world but a living world. It is the present that is shadowy."

            Neil Postman


"Television does not ban books, it simply displaces them."

            Neil Postman


"To many men and many governments the life of the human mind is a danger to be feared more than any other danger, and the Word which cannot be purchased, cannot be falsified, and cannot be killed is the enemy most hunted for and hated. It is not necessary to speak of the burning of the books in Germany, or of the victorious lie in Spain, or of the terror of the creative spirit in Russia, or of the hunting and hounding of those in this country who insist that certain truths be told and who will not be silent. These things are commonplaces. They are commonplaces to such a point that they no longer shock us into anger. Indeed it is the essential character of our time that the triumph of the lie, the mutilation of culture, and the persecution of the Word no longer shock us into anger."

(A letter from Justice Frankfurter to President Franklin Roosevelt)


"We live not with books themselves but with our memories of books: the bits and pieces we recall, the pages we dog-ear; the lines we highlight."

-Seth Lerer



"In Topeka, as a small child, my mother took me with her to the little vine-covered library on the grounds of the Capitol. There I first fell in love with librarians, and I have been in love with them ever since-those very nice women who help you find wonderful books! The silence inside the library, the big chairs, and long tables, and the fact that the library was always there and didn't seem to have a mortgage on it, or any sort of insecurity about it-all of that made me love it. And right then, even before I was six, books began to happen to me, so that after a while, there came a time when I believed in books more than in people-which, of course, was wrong."

-Langston Hughes


"A book is an attempt to make thought permanent and to contribute to the great conversation conducted by authors of the past."

            Neil Postman
            Amusing Ourselves to Death


"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us."




"I take as a parable Traffic with books. The scholar, who really does nothing but ‘Trundle" books-the philologist at a modest assessment about 200 a day-finally loses altogether the ability to think for himself. If he does not Trundle he does not think. He replies to a stimulus (-a thought he has read) when he thinks-finally he does nothing but react. The scholar expends his entire strength in affirmation and denial, in criticizing what has already been thought-he himself no longer thinks….The instinct for self-defense has in his case become soft; otherwise he would defend himself against books. The scholars-are decadent-This I have seen with my own eyes: natures gifted, rich and free already in their Thirties ‘read to ruin: mere matches that have to be struck if they are to ignite-emit ‘thoughts’. Early in the morning at the break of day, in all the freshness and dawn of one’s strength, to read a book-I call that vicious!"



"The World of Books

Is the Most Remarkable Creation of Man

Nothing Else That He Builds Ever Lasts

Monuments Fall

Nations Perish

Civilizations Grow Old and Die Out

And After an Era of Darkness

New Races Build Others

But in the World of Books Are Volumes

That Have See 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


"We are finite creatures. We live, and we will die. We only have so much time, so much intellectual energy, so much cognitive power, so many light bulbs. But there are oh so many books to read. And some of them are pretty dang tough to understand. What is Thomas Pynchon talking about in Gravity's Rainbow? Where is William Faulkner coming from when he pens large sections of his fiction without punctuation or capitalization? Who are these guys Daedalus and Bloom and what are they doing for six hundred pages? Does Virginia Woolf ever get To the Lighthouse or what?

   We don't know, true. In fact, many of us might not even care. Personally, I would rather assemble a 1,500-piece puzzle of a Jackson Pollock painting than slog through Finnegan's Wake. But this is a wholly unacceptable biblioholic attitude. We can't not care. True biblioholics never write off an author merely because that author is inscrutable. Inability to access the inaccessible is the exclusive province of the rank amateur. We have to care."

Tom Raabe

Biblioholism:The Literary Addiction


   "We are all misfits, poseurs, and clowns. We are heartbroken and lonely, failures in life, criminals and frauds. Most of our successes are pleasant illusions. Through the books on the shelves, the library becomes a support group and lets us know that we are not alone. Once we realize we are not alone, we can relax, set our burdens down, and move on.

   Support your local library.

    Get a library card.

    Pay your goddamn fines. Man up for Christ's sake. Be a little responsible.

   And if there's any shushing to be done, let it be done by a professional.


Don borchert

Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library


" there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I'd a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn't a tackled it...."

Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


"In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time-none ,zero."

-Charlie Munger


These-People-Tell-the-Truth Books (List by James V. Schall)

1) Josef Pieper: An Anthology

2. G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

3. Yves Simon, A General Theory of Authority

4. Dorothy Sayers, The Whimsical Christian

5. E.F. Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed

6. Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, a Novel

7) C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

8) James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

9) Denis de Rougemont, Love in the Western World

10) Leon Kass, The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfection of Our Nature

11) Karol Wojityla, Crossing the Threshold of Hope

12) J.M. Bochenski Philosophy: An Introduction

13) Hilaire Belloc, The Four Men

14) Herbert Butterfield, Christianity and History

15) Hans Urs von Balthasar, A Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen

16) J.R. R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories" The Tolkien Reader

17) Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource II

18) Robert Sokolowski, The God of Faith and Reason

19) Hadley Arkes, First Things: An Inquiry into the First Principles of Morals and Justice

20) Stanley Jaki, chance or Reality and other Essays

21) Henry Veatch, Rational Man: A Modern Interpretation of Aristotelian Ethics

22) Christopher Dawson, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture

23) Christopher Derrick, Escape from Skepticism: Liberal Education as if the Truth Mattered.

24) E.L. Mascall, The Christian Universe

25) Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue


"The habit of reading is one of the greatest resources of mankind and we enjoy reading books that belong to us much more than if they are borrowed. A borrowed book is like a guest int he house, it must be treated with punctiliousness, with a certain considerate formality. You must see that it sustains no damage, it must not suffer while under your roof. You cannot leave it carelessly, you cannot mark it, you cannot turn down the pages, and you cannot use it familiarly. And then, someday, although this is seldom done, you really ought to return it.

    But your own books belong to you; you treat them with that familiar intimacy that annihilates formality. Books are for use, not for show; you should own no book that you are afraid to mark up or afraid to place on the table, wide open and face down. A good reason for marking favorite passages in books is that this practice enables you to remember easily the significant sayings, to refer to them quickly, and then in later years, it is like visiting a forest where you once blazed a trail. you have the pleasure of going over the old ground, and recalling both the intellectual scenery and your old earlier self.

   Everyone should begin collecting a private library in youth: the instinct of private property, which is fundamental in human beings, can here be cultivated with every advantage and no evils. One should have one's own bookshelves, which should not have doors, glass windows, or keys; they should be free and accessible to the hand as well as the eye. The best of mural decorations is books; they are more varied in color and appearance than any wallpaper, they are more attractive in design, and they have the prime advantage of being separate personalities, so that if you sit alone in the room in the firelight, you are surrounded with intimate friends. The knowledge that they are in plain view is both stimulating and refreshing. You do not have to real them all.

   There are, of course, no friends like living, breathing, corporeal men and women;  my devotion to reading has never made me a recluse. how could it? Books are of the people, by the people, for the people. Literature is the immortal part of history; it is the best and most enduring part of personality. But book friends have this advantage over living friends, you can enjoy the most truly aristocratic society in the world whenever you want it. The  great dead are beyond our physical reach, and the great living are usually almost as inaccessible: As for our personal friends and acquaintances, we cannot always see them. Perchance they are asleep, or away on a journey. But in a private library, you can at any moment converse with Socrates or Shakespeare or Carlyle or Dumas or dickens or Shaw or Barrie or Galsworthy. And there is no doubt that in these books you see these men at their best. They wrote for you. They "laid themselves out," they did their ultimate best to entertain you, to make a favorable impression. you are as necessary to them as an audience to an actor, only instead of seeing them masked, you look into their inmost heart of hearts."

-William Lyon Phelps in 1933   Marine Corps Generalship





Book: "The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought From Ancient Times to Today" by Martin Seymour-Smith

Book: "The Book Lovers guide to the Internet, Revised Edition" by Evan Morris

Book: Books: A Living History" by Matyn Lyons

Book: "Built Of Books: How Reading Defined  the Life of Oscar Wilde" by Thomas Wright

Book: "Every Books It's Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World" by Nicholas A. Basbanes

Book: "Books On Fire: The Destruction of Libraries Throughout History" by Lucien X. Polastron

Book: "Every Book its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World" by Nicholas A. Basbanes

Book: "Patience & Fortitude: A Roving Chronicle of Book People by Nicholas A. Basbanes

Book: "A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an impermanent World" by Nicholas A. Basbanes

Book: "The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics" by W. John Campbell

Book: "Books On Fire: The Destruction of Libraries Throughout History" By Lucien X Polastron

Book: "A Great Idea At the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books" by Alex Beam

© 2007



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