An ordinary man can…surround himself with two thousand books…and thenceforward have at least one place in the world in which it is possible to be happy.
Blessed books. The less we had to say to one another, the more avidly we read. Books make excellent shields.
Britt Holmstrom “Leaving Berlin”
Her eyes float in a concerned sweep over the pages, her forehead puzzled. It’s painful to watch her; she shouldn’t invest so much of herself in anything as ephemeral as a book; it is criminal to care that much.
Carol Shields Small Ceremonies
Books are … a refuge and relief … they are with us by night, they are with us on long journeys, they are with us in the depths of the country.
It is not the job of writers to life our spirits. Books simply do what they do. They sometimes confirm the capricious drama of a childhood living room. When you think that you are in the grace of a dance you come upon something hard.
The first book first. And how I felt it beat
Under my pillow, in the morning’s dark,
An hour before the sun would let me read!
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
It’s a cozy thing to know you have so many books, that you can at any moment walk over and browse in your own house.
I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them – with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
Books, like cats, do not wear watches.
It is far more seemly to have the Studie full of Bookes than the Purse full of money.
When I see my bookshelf expanding, it gives me the illusion that my brain is expanding, too.
We all know that a book is not really a person. It isn’t a human being. But if you are a lover of books as books – as objects, that is – and ignore the human element in them – that is, their voices – you will be committing an error of the soul, because you will be an idolator, or else a fetishist.
A woman at one of Mother’s parties once said to me, “Do you like reading”, which smote us all to silence, for how could one tell her that books are like having a bath or sleeping, or eating bread – absolute necessities which one never thinks of in terms of appreciation?
Books gave us a way to shape ourselves – to form our thoughts and to signal to each other who we were and who we wanted to be.
I think books find their way to you when you need them. Whenever I feel like I’m not going to live to read all the books I want to read, I remind myself that the important ones find their way to me.
…only in the details can we understand the essential, as books and life have taught me.
Everything in the world exists to end up in a book.
My library is an archive of longings.