Books Quotes

Most popular books quotes

A good book gets better on the second reading. A great book on the third. Any book not worth rereading isn't worth reading.
Books are a narcotic.
Books, the Mind's food.
I cannot live without books.
Beware of the man of one book.
Books, the children of the brain.
Books are like movies of the mind.
A man's library is a sort of harem.


Books, that paper memory of mankind.
We read books to find out who we are.
An art book is a museum without walls.
Books may well be the only true magic.


Authors are actors, books are theaters.
There is no worse robber than a bad book.
— Italian proverb

Italian proverbs proverbs

Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.
A book is never finished, it is abandoned.
Books are the collective memory of mankind.
A book, tight shut, is but a block of paper.
— Chinese proverb

Chinese proverbs proverbs reading

The multitude of books is making us ignorant.
A book is a device to ignite the imagination.


An interesting book is food that makes us hungry.
A good book is the purest essence of a human soul.
Books—lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.
Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.
Some books leave us free and some books make us free.
Books had instant replay long before televised sports.
The Book: Man's Chief Weapon Against Tedium. Woman's too.
The true University of these days is a Collection of Books.


A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.
Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books.


Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.


My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.
A book is like a sandy path which keeps the indent of footsteps.
All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books.
A good book is the best of friends, the same to-day and for ever.


Many a fervid man
Writes books as cold and flat as graveyard stones.
A book should serve as an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us.
What I like in a good author is not what he says but what he whispers.
A book is a success when people who haven't read it pretend they have.
— Los Angeles Times Syndicate
A man loses contact with reality if he is not surrounded by his books.
Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.


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

conscience friendship happiness

No one ever really paid the price of a book—only the price of printing it.


How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.


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

critical thinking reading

There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.


Fitting people with books is about as difficult as fitting them with shoes.
A book is like a man—clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and ugly.
Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.
Books support us in our solitude and keep us from being a burden to ourselves.
'What is the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?'
All books are either dreams or swords,
You can cut, or you can drug, with words.


It often requires more courage to read some books than it does to fight a battle.
When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.
Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.


Books are embalmed minds; they make the great of other days our present teachers.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
— Ecclesiastes 12:12

biblical school

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.

reading writing

If a book read when young is a lover, that same book, reread later on, is a friend.

reading re-reading

When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.
The profession of book-writing makes horse-racing seem like a solid, stable business.

publishing writing

A book is a mirror: if an ape peers into it, you can't expect an apostle to look out.
A book is a friend who doesn't get upset if you abruptly leave it without explanation.
Life is a cornfield, but literature is that shot of whiskey that's been distilled down.


You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.


Books are like imprisoned souls until someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.
Books are good enough in their own way but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.
There are no faster or firmer friendships than those between people who love the same books.


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
Books are men of higher stature,
And the only men that speak aloud for future times to hear.
Any kid who has two parents who are interested in him and has a houseful of books isn't poor.

advisory parenting reading

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
A book is a bottle cast upon the high seas on which this label must be placed: "Catch who can!"
Worthy books
Are not companions—they are solitudes:
We lose ourselves in them and all our cares.
Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.
Great books are great teachers; they are showing us every day what ordinary people are capable of.
I go to books and to nature as the bee goes to a flower, for a nectar that I can make my own honey.
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.


Books are messengers of freedom.  They can be hidden under a mattress or smuggled into slave nations.
The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.


There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry.
Books are like seeds.  They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.
It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part; the rest are lost in the multitude.
A book is a version of the world.  If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.


Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.  They are the destination, and the journey.  They are home.


A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.
All that Mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of Books.
The chief knowledge that a man gets from reading books is the knowledge that very few of them are worth reading.
A book—a well-composed book—is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world we cannot enter in any other way.
Bread and books: food for the body and food for the soul—what could be more worthy of our respect, and even love?
The book is the most efficient technological instrument for learning that has ever been devised by the human mind.
There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded.
There is a wonder in reading braille that the sighted will never know: to touch words and have them touch you back.
The world is a library of strange and wonderful books, and sometimes we just need to go prowling through the stacks.

libraries the world

When a man writes a letter to himself, it is a pity to post it to somebody else.  Perhaps the same is true of a book.
In a sense, one can never read the book that the author originally wrote, and one can never read the same book twice.


Temples fall, statues decay, mausoleums perish, eloquent phrases declaimed are forgotten, but good books are immortal.
I make books for people to live in, as architects make houses. I lived in it by writing it. Now it's the reader's turn.

why I write

When you sell a man a book, you  don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue—you sell him a whole new life.
In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.
What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.
A great book should leave you with many experiences and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.
A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.
Great writers arrive among us like new diseases—threatening, powerful, impatient for patients to pick up their virus, irresistible.


A truly good book is something as wildly natural and primitive, mysterious and marvelous, ambrosial and fertile as a fungus or a lichen.
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 vice versa.
The walls of books around me, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its dangers. I hated to get up.
A book is good company. It is full of conversation without loquacity. It comes to your longing with full instruction, but pursues you never.


Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
In books as in life, there are no second chances.  On second thought: it's the next work, still to be written, that offers the second chance.

second chances

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.
From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings.


Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.
If we are imprisoned in ourselves, books provide us with the means of escape. If we have run too far away from ourselves, books show us the way back.
A good book often serves as a match to light the dormant powder within us.  There is explosive material enough in most of us if we can only reach it.
Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people—people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.
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.
Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.
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.
The true birthplace is that wherein for the first time one looks intelligently upon oneself; my first homelands have been books, and to a lesser degree schools.


The book is the greatest interactive medium of all time.  You can underline it, write in the margins, fold down a page, skip ahead. And you can take it anywhere.
The lover of books is a miner, searching for gold all his life long.  He finds his nuggets, his heart leaps in his breast; he cannot believe in his good fortune.
There are...books which take rank in our life with parents and lovers and passionate experiences, so medicinal, so stringent, so revolutionary, so authoritative.


A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation. Lend and borrow to the maximum—of both books and money.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you—how many you can make your own.
I have a low opinion of books; they are but piles of stones set up to show coming travelers where other minds have been, or at best signal smokes to call attention.
Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.
Books...are like lobster shells. We surround ourselves with 'em, and then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidences of our earlier stages of development.
A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.

classics reading re-reading

After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books.
There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times.
Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours. Who would we be if we could not sympathize with those who are not us or ours?


A book is the only place I know in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear that it will go off in your face.
I look at my books the way parents look at their children. The fact that one becomes more successful than the other doesn't make them love the less successful one any less.


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 died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.
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.


Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books.
We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.
In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead.
There are times in one's life when a good book—the right book—feels like a voice speaking in the darkness, or a hand reaching out from the past; providing solace when all else seems lost.


Socrates called himself a midwife of ideas. A great book is often such a midwife, delivering to full existence what has been coiled like an embryo in the dark, silent depths of the brain.
A book is not an end in itself; it is only a way to touch someone—a bridge extended across a space of loneliness and obscurity—and sometimes it is a way of winning other people to our causes.
I devoured books like a person taking vitamins, afraid that otherwise I would remain this gelatinous narcissist, with no possibility of ever becoming thoughtful, of ever being taken seriously.


In books I have travelled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.  I learned who I was and who I wanted to be, what I might aspire to, and what I might dare to dream about my world and myself.
A war of ideas can no more be won without books than a naval war can be won without ships.  Books, like ships, have the toughest armor, the longest cruising range, and mount the most powerful guns.


Library books were, I suddenly realized, promiscuous, ready to lie in the arms of anyone who asked. Not like bookstore books, which married their purchasers, or were brokered for marriages to others.


Smaller than a breadbox, bigger than a TV remote, the average book fits into the human hand with a seductive nestling, a kiss of texture, whether of cover cloth, glazed jacket, or flexible paperback.
To read good books is like holding a conversation with the most eminent minds of past centuries and, moreover, a studied conversation in which these authors reveal to us only the best of their thoughts.


Every reader finds himself. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.


It is customary to speak of children as vessels into which books are poured, but I think the reverse analogy is more accurate: children pour themselves into books, changing their shape to fit each vessel.


Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment nor awkwardness.
You can blow up a man with gunpowder in half a second, while it may take twenty years to blow him up with a book. But the gunpowder destroys itself along with its victim, while a book can keep on exploding for centuries.
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible.
It is only by introducing the young to great literature, drama and music, and to the excitement of great science that we open to them the possibilities that lie within the human spirit — enable them to see visions and dream dreams.

art science

To write a book is a task needing only one pen, ink, and paper; to print a book is rather more difficult, because genius often expresses itself illegibly; to read a book is more difficult still, for one has to struggle with sleep; but to sell a book is the most difficult task of all.

publishing writing

Every book is, in an intimate sense, a circular letter to the friends of him who writes it.  They alone take his meaning; they find private messages, assurances of love, and expressions of gratitude, dropped at every corner.  The public is but a generous patron who defrays the postage.
It happens to us once or twice in a lifetime to be drunk with some book which probably has some extraordinary relative power to intoxicate us and none other; and having exhausted that cup of enchantment we go groping in libraries all our years afterwards in the hope of being in Paradise again.
The characters who come to life on the page or on the stage are the ones that have passed through the storyteller's imagination. Your readers already "know" people as well as real people ever know each other. They turn to fiction in order to know people better than they can ever know them in real life.


A book is made from a tree.  It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles.  One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you.
The book itself is a curious artefact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were 15, it will tell it to you again when you're 50, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book.