Reading is like the game of trust in which one person falls straight back into the arms of a stranger whose job it is to catch the faller and hold her fast.
Anne Giardini “Double Happiness” Carol Shields: The Arts of a Writing Life (ed. Besner)
When you read my writing, you have your own vision of each character, and your own understanding of their motives and desires. If I could put my eye to your brain I would hardly recognize my world, it is a collaboration between the two of us. You have your own supply of ideas, which my writing is calling forth.
Audrey Niffenegger “Inquisitiveness and Desire” (Powells 2004)
Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve.
Carol Shields Republic of Love
When I want to be busy with books, I am often playing truant among my thoughts.
Her reputation of reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic; it was supposed to engender difficult questions and to keep the conversation at a low temperature.
You think your pains and your heartbreaks are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who have ever been alive.
I am a very quick reader – I have as I’ve said, very large, squarish eyes that seem to be able to fit over a good patch of the page.
Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier.
He generally took more books out of the library than he was able to read before they were due back. His charging records at the Boston Athenaeum, the Harvard College Library, and the Boston Society Library are not so much a measure of his intake as of his appetite. He glanced at thousands of books. He read carefully many hundreds that caught his attention. He returned over and over to a favourite few…
Robert D. Richardson on Emerson in First We Read Then We Write
…to write is to practice, with particular intensity and attentiveness, the art of reading.
Here is the great difference between reading and writing. Reading is a vocation, a skill at which, with practice, you are bound to become more expert. What you accumulate as a writer is mostly uncertainties and anxieties.
…reading is a political act. The more you read, the more political you become. The more you read, the more dangerous you become.
Why do I write? In some ways, for the same reasons that I read: to know I’m not alone. But that’s not the full explanation. Books have had more influence on me than anything else in my life, and I turn to them for everything: escape, humor, philosophy, story, and craft. I write because I can’t not write. Literature holds so much power over me, it has whispered in my ear so often, that I have to respond.
Sometimes I think heaven must be one continuous unexhausted reading