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I was in Nashville, Tennessee last year.  After the show I went to a Waffle House.  I’m not proud of it.  I was hungry.  And I’m alone; I’m eating and I’m reading a book, right?  Waitress walks over to me: ‘Hey, whatcha readin’ for?  Isn’t that the weirdest fuckin’ question you’ve ever heard?  Not what am I reading, but what am I reading FOR?  Well, goddamnit, ya stumped me!  Why do I read?  Well ... hmmm ... I dunno ... I guess I read for a lot of reasons and the main one is so I don’t end up being a fuckin’ waffle waitress.  Bill Hick, Sane Man

 

 

I hate these academics that get praise, and theyre shallow.  Its all smug and bullshit.  [Ian] McEwan and [Martin] Amis and all them.  Middle-class mafia … They can buy their way to a lifelong competitive advantage over the uneducated and poor.  This middle-class business, its the only place in the world where its really strong because it comes right down from the Queen.  Its a nepotistic way British society is run.  They dont draw from the whole gene pool, like America.  Thats why you get good writers in America.  Theres never been any great writers here in England, not in the last century.  Look at Kingsley Amis.  You cant believe in the characters he writes about.  And the experiences he attributes to them.  And yet they made him a Sir.  Theyre disgusting people really.  It can be treacherous, the publishing world.  John Healy, interview May 2012

 

 

Muslim scientists could not even access the latest research from Europe.  Because their religion now prevented them from reading printed books.  For the Ottomans script was sacred.  Niall Ferguson, Civilisation: Is the West History? BBC 2011

 

 

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.  If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.  Ernest Hemingway
 

 

All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books.  Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

‘I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman’s inconstancy.  Songs and proverbs, all talk of womans fickleness.  But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men.’

 

‘Perhaps I shall.  Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books.  Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story.  Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands.  I will not allow books to prove anything.’  Jane Austen, Persuasion

 

 

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!  How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! – When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

 

 

‘And what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?’  Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

 

 

The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature.  Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not.  All readers were equal, herself included.  Literature, she thought, is a commonwealth; letters a republic.  Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

 

 

My working-class Italian-American parents didnt go to school, there were no books in the house.  Martin Scorsese

 

 

Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.  Franz Kafka 

 

 

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.  Frank Kafka

 

 

Books are a narcotic.  Franz Kafka 

 

 

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, The Prince and the Pauper 

 

 

I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them.  I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin.  Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.  Mark Twain

 

 

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.  Mark Twain

 

 

Classic – a book which people praise and don’t read.  Mark Twain  

 

 

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

 

 

In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight.  He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school: and whereas, before, our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used; and, contrary to the king, his crown and dignity, thou hast built a paper-mill.  William Shakespeare, II Henry IV ii 35

 

 

He hath not fed of the dainties that are bred in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink.  William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost IV ii 25

 

 

Was ever book containing such vile matter

So fairly bound?  William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet III ii 83, Juliet to Nurse

 

 

Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me

From mine own library with volumes that

I prize above my dukedom.  William Shakespeare, The Tempest I ii @167, Prospero

 

 

O!  let my books be then the eloquence

And dumb passenger of my speaking breast.  William Shakespeare, Sonnet 23

 

 

You can’t tell a book by its cover.  Early 20th century proverb

 

 

These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank.  Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs.  Anton Chekhov 

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