Our topic this week is our favorite quote about books and reading and why.
Here’s the thing – quotes, like poetry, jokes and geometrical formulae, don’t stay in my head. I read them, I nod, I ‘like’ it if it’s on Facebook and I move on. You can tell me the same joke every day and I’ll laugh as if I never heard it before because my brain doesn’t retain the information. I have a prodigious memory and always have, but only for certain things.
So what I decided to do this week is go to my favorite source for quotes, BrainyQuote, and search there. I found no less than 1000 quotes about reading which they curated, so I’ve selected the first ten I found that appealed to me in some way or another.
There is creative reading as well as creative writing. Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have no idea what he was thinking but to me it points out the reader brings their own experiences to a book, a concept which I liked…
Which leads to this quote:
Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. Albert Einstein
Oh dear, I’m afraid Dr. Einstein and I would have to agree to disagree. Strenuously. But perhaps a mind such as his (which probably did retain all kinds of formulae while also making up his own) was too elevated to merely read. On a side note, I’ve eaten in the Caltech dining room where he used to sit when he lived there…
Now I do agree with this one:
Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him. Maya Angelou
I’ve always thought whatever the child wants to read, be it comics or Nancy Drew or anime or the encyclopedia or whatever, should be encouraged! Reading is reading and a child can always branch out to other material later.
A rather chilling warning here:
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. Ray Bradbury
I liked this one:
The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. Rene Descartes
Of course I don’t know that people in future centuries will be reading my scifi romances but an author can always hope!
One superlatively important effect of wide reading is the enlargement of vocabulary which always accompanies it. H. P. Lovecraft
Personally, I like reading adventures which really have happened to people, because they show what kinds of things might happen to oneself, and they teach how to ‘Be Prepared’ to meet them. Robert Baden-Powell.
I definitely subscribe to this one, probably in part because of my fascination with the sinking of the Titanic, and who survived and who didn’t. I remember giving a lot of thought as a child to what I would have done and how hesitation in a crisis was a killer. My copy of A Night to Remember by Walter Lord is too dog eared to read any longer! My daughter bought me a new copy in fact. I think that entire aspect of my nature – to be prepared (not that I was ever a Boy Scout, or a Girl Scout LOL!) is an outgrowth of being determined not to be left behind when all the lifeboats are gone because I dillydallied when there was still a chance to escape. I love to read about disasters and to think through what I would have done (or not done)…Inaction can be the worst mistake.
I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve. Montesquieu
So much this ^^^. Losing myself in a favorite book (hello Nalini Singh and Psy-Changelings) can make any day better. Or becoming engrossed in a really good new-to-me story.
We shouldn’t teach great books, we should teach a love of reading. B F Skinner
Because speaking for myself, if I hadn’t already been a voracious reader at a very early age, some of the BORING awful things we had to read in junior high and high school just because they were deemed to be CLASSICS could have turned me off books forever. (Looking at you, Charles Dickens.)
And I’ll conclude with this:
The unread story is not a story; it is black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. Ursula K LeGuin