Here, my dear Lucy, hide these books. Quick, quick! Fling Peregrine Pickle under the toilette --throw Roderick Random into the closet --put The Innocent Adultery into The Whole Duty of Man; thrust Lord Aimworth under the sofa! cram Ovid behind the bolster; there --put The Man of Feeling into your pocket. Now for them.
To use books rightly, is to go to them for help; to appeal to them when our own knowledge and power fail; to be led by them into wider sight and purer conception than our own, and to receive from them the united sentence of the judges and councils of all time, against our solitary and unstable opinions.
The real risks for any artist are taken in pushing the work to the limits of what is possible, in the attempt to increase the sum of what it is possible to think. Books become good when they go to this edge and risk falling over it --when they endanger the artist by reason of what he has, or has not, artistically dared.
In the dark colony of night, when I consider man's magnificent capacity for malice, madness, folly, envy, rage, and destructiveness, and I wonder whether we shall not end up as breakfast for newts and polyps, I seem to hear the muffled cries of all the words in all the books with covers closed.
She could give herself up to the written word as naturally as a good dancer to music or a fine swimmer to water. The only difficulty was that after finishing the last sentence she was left with a feeling at once hollow and uncomfortably full. Exactly like indigestion.
Five daily newspapers arrive in my California driveway. The New York times and the Wall Street Journal are supplemented by three local papers. As for magazines, I read, or at least skim, Business Week, Forbes, The Economist, INC; Industry Week, Fortune. Other subscriptions include Sales and Marketing Management, Modern Health Care, Progressive Grocer, High Tech Business, and Slaon Management Review from MIT. I religiously read Business Tokyo, Asia Week, and Far Eastern Economic Review. I glance at Newsweek and Time ... but I devour the New Republic, Policy Review, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Monthly, and Public Interest. How about books? A dozen or more each month.
The books that help you most are those which make you think that 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.
Some of the most famous books are the least worth reading. Their fame was due to their having done something that needed to be doing in their day. The work is done and the virtue of the book has expired.
The constant habit of perusing devout books is so indispensable, that it has been termed the oil of the lamp of prayer. Too much reading, however, and too little meditation, may produce the effect of a lamp inverted; which is extinguished by the very excess of that ailment, whose property is to feed it.
Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a certain potency of life in them, to be as active as the soul whose progeny they are; they preserve, as in a vial, the purest efficacy and extraction of the living intellect that bred them.
For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous dragon's teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men.