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Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

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An Old Philosopher's Notebooks     Virtues     How to Live A Good Life

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"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."
-  Mortimer J. Adler


Beware of a man of one book.
-   Anonymous


"Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly."
-  Francis Bacon


"Books are a uniquely portable magic."
-  Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


"I divide all readers into two classes; those who read to remember and those who read to forget."
-  William Lyon Phelps


"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
-  Charles William Eliot


"We live for books."
-  Umberto Eco


“Nothing is pleasanter to me than exploring in a library.” 
-  Walter Savage Landor, Pericles and Aspasia


"No two persons ever read the same book."
-  Edmund Wilson


"Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours."
-  John Locke


"The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead.  And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours."
-  Alan Bennett, The History Boys


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


"Books alone, however well written, or richly stored with facts, cannot teach all that is necessary to be know about the subject; they can only act as a guide.  We must examine the work of the past, and note down errors of practice that have led to failures for rectification; so as to go forward with additional experience and a firm resolve to merit success in the new year."
-   T. W. Saunders


“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” 
-  W. Somerset Maugham, Books and You


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
-  Jane Austen


"Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators."
-  Stephen Fry


"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book."
-  Stéphane Mallarmé


"Reader's Bill of Rights:

1. The right to not read 
2. The right to skip pages 
3. The right to not finish 
4. The right to reread 
5. The right to read anything 
6. The right to escapism 
7. The right to read anywhere 
8. The right to browse 
9. The right to read out loud 
10. The right to not defend your tastes." 
-  Daniel Pennac


"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.  They are the destination, and the journey.  They are home."
-  Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life


"A book is a dream that you hold in your hand."
-  Neil Gaiman


"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader."
-  Margaret Fuller


"People can lose their lives in libraries.  They ought to be warned."
-  Saul Bellow


"The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame."
-  Oscar Wilde


"Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood."
-  John Green


"Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life."
-  Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet


"The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones."
-  Joseph Joubert


"There's nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over."
-  Gail Carson Levine


"It is a good rule after reading a new book, never allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between."
-  C. S. Lewis


"Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light."
-  Vera Nazarian


"My desire and wish is that the things I start with should be so obvious that you wonder why I spend my time stating them.  This is what I aim at because the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it."
-  Bertrand Russell, The Philosophy of Logical Atomism


"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."
-  P. J. O'Rourke


"There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book."
-  Josh Jameson


"I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage."
-  Roald Dahl


"Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand."
-  Ezra Pound


"The best books... are those that tell you what you know already."
-  George Orwell, 1984


"A word after a word after a word is power."
-  Margaret Atwood


"Think before you speak. Read before you think."
-  Fran Lebowitz


"Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author's words reverberating in your head."
-  Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies


"Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself."
-  Angela Carter


"Winston stopped reading, chiefly in order to appreciate the fact that he was reading, in comfort and safety. He was alone: no telescreen, no ear at the keyhole, no nervous impulse to glance over his shoulder or cover the page with his hand. The sweet summer air played against his cheek. From somewhere far away there floated the faint shouts of children: in the room itself there was no sound except the insect voice of the clock. He settled deeper into the arm-chair and put his feet up on the fender. It was bliss, it was eternity." 
- George Orwell, 1984


"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
-   Cicero


"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


"The book you don't read won't help."
-  Jim Rohn


"What a blessing it is to love books.   Everybody must love something, and I know of no objects of love that give such substantial and unfailing returns as books and a garden." 
-   Elizabeth von Arnim 


"Never force yourself to read a book that you do not enjoy.  There are so many good books in the world that it is foolish to waste time on one that does not give you pleasure."
-  Atwood H. Townsend, Good Reading


"Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real."
-  Nora Ephron


"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.  Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic."
-  Carl Sagan


"He liked the mere act of reading, the magic of turning scratches on a page into words inside his head."
-  John Green


"The man who has a library of his own collection is able to contemplate himself objectively, and is justified in believing in his own existence." 
-  Augustine Birrell


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


"What you don't know would make a great book."
-  Sydney Smith


"A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say."
-  Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature


"I would never read a book if it were possible for me to talk half an hour with the man who wrote it."
-  Woodrow Wilson


"Only a generation of readers will spawn a generation of writers." 
-  Steven Spielberg


“To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations - such is pleasure beyond compare.” 
-  Yoshida Kenko


"Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you."
-  Louis L'Amour  


"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all."
-  Oscar Wilde


"The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you."
-  W. Somerset Maugham


"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book."
-  Anonymous 


"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."
-  Haruki Murakami


"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world.  Love of books is best of all."
-  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis




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Sensory Pleasures     Simplicity     Solitude    Somaesthetics     Stoicism    Taijiquan    

Tao Te Ching     Thinking     Tolerance     Touching     Tranquility    Vigor     Vision    

Walking     Willpower     Wisdom     Wonder     Zen Precepts      

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"The main question to a novel is -- did it amuse?  were you surprised at dinner coming so soon?  did you mistake eleven for ten?  were you too late to dress?  and did you sit up beyond the usual hour?  If a novel produces these effects, it is good; if it does not -- story, language, love, scandal itself cannot save it.  It is only meant to please; and it must do that or it does nothing." 
-  Sydney Smith, The Edinburgh Review


"A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them." 
-  Lemony Snicket, Horseradish


"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." 
-  Ursula K. Le Guin


"One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time."
-  Carl Sagan


"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading." 
-  Logan Pearsall Smith


"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul."
-  Joyce Carol Oates


"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson


"There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book."
-  Marcel Proust


"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it."
-  Edward P. Morgan


"I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else."
-  Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone around the World


"Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live."
-  Gustave Flaubert


"Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself."
-  George Bernard Shaw


"Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all."
-  Abraham Lincoln


"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
-  C.S. Lewis


"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."
-  Groucho Marx


"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.
-  Paul Sweeney


"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."
-  Jorge Luis Borges


"Some books leave us free and some books make us free."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Sleep is good, he said, and books are better." 
-  George R. Martin


"Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you."
-  Harold Bloom


"Sections in the bookstore

Books You Haven't Read
Books You Needn't Read
Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading
Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written
Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
Books Too Expensive Now and You'll Wait 'Til They're Remaindered
Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback
Books You Can Borrow from Somebody
Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too
Books You've Been Planning to Read for Ages
Books You've Been Hunting for Years Without Success
Books Dealing with Something You're Working on at the Moment
Books You Want to Own So They'll Be Handy Just in Case
Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer
Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves
Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time to Re-read
Books You've Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It's Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them."
-   Italo Calvino, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler


"There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read."
-  Gilbert K. Chesterton


"No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material."
-  Sarah J. Maas  


"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief."
-  Franz Kafka


"Keep reading books, but remember that a book is only a book, and you should learn to think for yourself."
-  Maxim Gorky


"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


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


"If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads."
-  François Mauriac


"A good book is an event in my life."
-  Stendhal, The Red and the Black


"Reading brings us unknown friends." 
-  Honoré de Balzac


"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"
-  Henry Ward Beecher


"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."
-  Gilbert K. Chesterton


"A book is a version of the world.  If you do not like it, ignore it or offer you own version in return."
-  Salman Rushdie


"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world."
-  Voltaire


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"Read, read, read.  Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it.  Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read!  You'll absorb it.  Then write.  If it's good, you'll find out.  If it's not, throw it out of the window."
-  William Faulkner


"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."
-  J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye


" ′Classic′ - a book which people praise and don't read."
-  Mark Twain


"In a good book the best is between the lines."
-  Sweedish proverb


"Are we not like two volumes of one book?"
-  Marceline Desbordes-Valmore


"Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."
-  Arnold Lobel


"After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer's breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer - perhaps more."
-  Jasper Fforde


"Men do not understand books until they have a certain amount of life, or at any rate no man understands a deep book, until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents."
-  Ezra Pound


"That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed with profit."
-  Amos Bronson Alcott


"You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive." 
-  James Baldwin


"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading."
-  William Styron


"If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it."
-  Toni Morrison


"One always has a better book in one' mind that one can manage to get onto paper."
-  Michael Cunningham


"I read a book one day and my whole life was changed."
-  Orhan Pamuk, The New Life


"I think of life as a good book.  The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense."
-  Harold Kushner


"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them."
-  Lemony Snicket, Horseradish


"The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you'll go." 
-  Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! 


"A good book has no ending."
-  R. D. Cumming


"We read to know we're not alone." 
-  William Nicholson, Shadowlands 


"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."
-  Frederick Douglas


"Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out."
-  J. K. Rowling


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"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


"A book is a device to ignite the imagination."
-  Alan Bennett


"Books don't offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw."
-  David Mitchell


"Why can't people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?"
-  David Baldacci


"It's not just the books under fire now that worry me.  It is the books that will never be written.  The books that will never be read."
-  Judy Blume 


"My alma mater was books, a good library.... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity." 
-  Malcolm X


"For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth.  What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.  Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die."
-  Anne Lamott


"Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry."
-  Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel


"A half-read book is a half-finished love affair."
-  David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas


"What a blessing it is to love books as I love them; to be able to converse with the dead, and to live amidst the unreal!"
-  Thomas Babington Macaulay






Advice     Beauty     Bibliography     Blog     Body-Mind     Broad Minded     Cheerfulness       

Contemplation     Desires     Dharmapada Sutra     Education     Epicureanism     Equanimity    

Feeling     Fitness     Five Senses     Friendship     Gardening     Generosity 

Happiness     Hedonism    Hospitality     Independence     Kindness    Learning     Links    

Meditation     Memory     Mindfulness     Moderation     Open Minded     Paramitas    

Patience     Philosophy     Play     Pleasures     Qigong     Reading     Self-Reliance    

Sensory Pleasures     Simplicity     Solitude    Somaesthetics     Stoicism    Taijiquan    

Tao Te Ching     Thinking     Tolerance     Touching     Tranquility    Vigor     Vision    

Walking     Willpower     Wisdom     Wonder     Zen Precepts      





Recommended Reading


Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure.   By Victor Nell.  Yale University, 1990.  352 pages.  ISBN: 9780300049060. 





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Cloud Hands Blog


Virtues and a Good Life

Compiled by Mike Garofalo

Last modified or updated on March 6, 2016. 

First posted online on January 10, 2016.   

Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California


Cloud Hands Blog