A great part of the power of fiction rests on its ability to indicate, to point out truths once we allow it to work as an arena for people like ourselves, who happen to be imaginary.
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.
Some books have to wait until you’re ready for them. So much, in reading, is a matter of luck.
Margaret Atwood The Guardian, 2002
In a quick revision of her expectations, Eliza decides that anyone can hold a book; the trick lies in opening it. If she isn’t ready for the book’s contents, her own unpreparedness will serve as the most effective of locks.
When you make a discovery in fiction, you have a living piece.
New York Writers’ Workshop
Thoreau went to the woods because he wished to live deliberately in order to give a true account in his next excursion. I go to libraries because they are the ocean.