Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quotes: Reading.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

Modern readers do not have the literary background, leisure or patience to put any more effort into reading than they do in watching a movie or listening to the radio.
Reading 318 Rudolf Flesch: They [the modern readers] don’t have the literary background of Victorian ladies and gentlemen; they don’t have their leisure and patience; they are unwilling to put more effort into reading than they would into watching a movie or listening to the radio. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

The paper-based book, newspaper and magazine have advantages over their digital counterparts.
Reading 113 The paper-based book, magazine, or newspaper still has a lot of advantages over its digital counterpart...to read a digital document you need an information appliance such as a personal computer...a book is small, lightweight, high resolution, and inexpensive compared to the cost of a computer. Gates, The Road Ahead.

JFK was a fanatical reader at any time during the day.
Reading 104 [Kennedy]...a fanatical reader, not only at the normal times and places but at meals, in the bathtub, sometimes even when walking. Dressing in the morning, he [Kennedy] would prop open a book on his bureau and read while he put on his shirt and tied his tie. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days.

JFK did not read for distraction; he had not a second to waste.
Reading 104 Kennedy seldom read for distraction...did not want to waste a single second. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

JFK read for information, for comparison, for insight and for the sheer joy of well-expressed ideas.
Reading 104 He [Kennedy] read partly for information, partly for comparison, partly for insight, partly for the sheer joy of felicitous statement. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

I am surprised that you prefer reading to playing cards.
Reading 37 “Do you prefer reading to cards?” said he; “that is rather singular.” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

She was completely absorbed in her reading.
Reading 204 She read, with an eagerness which hardly left her the power of comprehension, and from impatience of knowing what the next sentence might bring, was incapable of attending to the sense of the one before her eyes. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

JFK remembered and applied what he read.
Reading 25 More amazing was the accuracy with which he [Kennedy] remembered and applied what he read. Sorenson, Kennedy

JFK never saw his father read a serious book, although he was well informed. [Neither did I.]
Reading 35 “Although,” the Senator [Kennedy] told me of this successful, well-informed man [his father], “I’ve almost never seen him read a serious book.” Sorenson, Kennedy

JFK found in the writings of Mao and Che Guevera what he could not find in army manuals.
Reading 712 Finding little to go on in the Army field manuals, he [Kennedy] read the classic texts on guerrilla warfare by Red China’s Mao Tse-Tung and Cuba’s Che Guevara, and requested appropriate military men to do the same. Sorenson, Kennedy

When God receives readers in Heaven, He will say “We have nothing for them here. They already have their reward. They are readers.”
Reading 443 Woolf on reading: “I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards--their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble--the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, ‘Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.’” Bloom, Western Canon.

Real readers read to enlarge a solitary existence.
Reading 518 What Johnson and Woolf after him called the Common Reader…does not read for easy pleasure or to expiate social guilt, but to enlarge a solitary existence. Bloom, Western Canon.

Not many college students today have a passion for reading.
Reading 519 …only a few handfuls of students now enter Yale with an authentic passion for reading. Bloom, Western Canon.

She draws up various lists of what to read, but she does not read.
Reading 37 Mr. Knightley on Emma: Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old...have seen a great many lists of her drawing up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through--and very good lists they were--very well chosen, and very neatly arranged--sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule...but I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma; she will never submit to anything requiring industry and patience.... Austen, Emma

When she saw her name in the letter, every word became irresistible.
Reading 444 On Emma’s reading the letter from Mr. Frank Churchill: As soon as she came to her own name, it was irresistible; every line relating to herself was interesting and almost every line agreeable. Austen, Emma

He is a little bookish, but when his head is full of learning, he will take to field sports.
Reading 20 Edward was a little bookish, he [Sir Everard] admitted; but youth, he had always heard, was the season for learning, and, no doubt, when his rage for letters was abated, and his head fully stocked with knowledge, his nephew would take to field sports and country business. Sir Walter Scott, Waverley.

Learn to skim, skip, scan and sample and when to use these techniques.
Reading 25 Master the art of skimming, skipping, scanning and sampling—the techniques of reading part of a manuscript all the way through…will have to learn when you can safely use this technique, and when you must read every single line, every single word. M. L. Schuster. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

In order to see the word of God through his own eyes and not the eyes of the priest, he needed to learn to read.
Reading 300 To be responsible for his own salvation, to see the Word of God through his own and not through a priest’s eyes, a man had to be able to read. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Colonial America was brought up on self-help books.
Reading 304 Especially in the smaller libraries, or in the collections of two dozen titles or less...one often found medical texts to help the planter or his wife treat the plantation sick...numerous handbooks on agriculture, building, horses, hunting, or fishing were not for the hobbyist...essential tools...guide to horsemanship or gardening enabled the Virginian to etch in more minute detail his reproduction of English country life. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

The aristocrats of Virginia did not spend much money on books.
Reading 312 ...the free-spending aristocracy [of Virginia] did not spend much of its money on books. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Book buying does not tell what people actually read.
Reading 412 But what people actually read is a fact almost as private and inaccessible as what they thought...do not have even an approximate record of the actual reading--as contrasted with book-buying, or book ownership--of any major figure in our past. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Books we buy are sometimes substitutes for reading; we want to give the impression that the contents of our library are in our heads.
Reading 412 But everyone knows from his personal experience that the purchase of a book is sometimes a substitute for the reading of it; we would all be flattered to think that the contents of our libraries had got into our heads. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

She would not read anything better than comic books and stories in magazines for females because she saw anything higher as like being in school.
Reading 158 ...but no matter how I pleaded or stormed, I could never make her read any other book than the so-called comic books or stories in magazines for American females; any literature a peg higher smacked to her of school. Nabokov, Lolita.

I had no idea what it meant, but it was certainly written with style.
Reading 38 Most of the language was above me, and so I could only get a general impression of his argument…had no way of judging whether it made sense…only thing I was sure of was that it was written with style. Watson, The Double Helix.

The only way to find out if a book is useless is to read it.
Reading 72 You can’t learn that a book is useless until you’ve read it. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Jackson always carried and read the Bible and Napoleon’s maxims on war.
Reading 182 He [Jackson] had many books and two favorites, which he always carried in his mess kit—the Bible and a volume of Napoleon’s maxims on war…his professional and military inspiration [was] the Little Corsican, whose 88 campaigns he had mastered from A to Z. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

She only read books that had no useful information and stories without reflection.
Reading 15 …provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she [Catherine Morland] had never any objection to books at all. Austen, Northanger Abbey.

I always find something else to do rather than to read novels.
Reading 48 Oh Lord! Not I; I never read novels; I have something else to do. Austen, Northanger Abbey.

A clever man is usually a reading man.
Reading 182 Benwick…is a clever man, a reading man…. Austen, Persuasion.

Read it a little at a time, and, having finished it, realize that you have only begun to understand it.
Reading xiv Read the book [Spinoza’s Ethics] not all at once but in small portions at many sittings…having finished it, consider that you have but begun to understand it. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy.

We need to learn how to select our books, books to be tasted, swallowed, chewed and digested.
Reading 112 ...if we knew how to select our books: “Some books are to be tasted...others to be swallowed, and some to be chewed and digested.” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

Read it, read some commentary on it and then read it again and it will be a new book for you.
Reading 170 And having finished [Spinoza's Ethics], consider that you have but begun to understand it; read then some commentary, like Pollock's Spinoza…finally, read the Ethics again; it will be a new book to you…[and] when you have finished it a second time you will remain forever a lover of philosophy. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza.

Some books are like symphonies that must be heard many times to be really understood.
Reading 310 A great book is like a great symphony, which must be heard many times before it can be really understood. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

Books are a means of enriching life; focus on the original text, not on commentaries.
Reading 332 Schopenhauer : the first counsel then, is life before books; and the second is, text before commentary. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

I had no books, but I said over and over again lines of poetry I had memorized; they were great comfort to me.
Reading 394 Capt. Littlepage: I had no books…but I used to say over all I could remember…old poets little knew what comfort they could be to a man. Jewett, The country of the Pointed Firs.

Some people read too much and therefore do not live life.
Reading 59 There are people who read too much: the bibliobibuli…wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing. Mencken, Minority Report.

Harold Ross’s goal in life was to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
Reading 90 Thurber on Harold Ross: …he took the Encyclopedia Britannica to the bathroom with him…was up to about H when he died. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

I reread books I read when I was young, like old friends.
Reading 136 Faulkner: ...the books I read [now] are the ones I knew and loved when I was a young man and to which I return...as to old friends: the Old Testament, Dickens, Conrad, Cervantes...Flaubert, Balzac--he created an intact world of his own...running through twenty books--Dostoevski, Tolstoi, Shakespeare...Melville occasionally...have read these books so often that I don’t always begin at page one and read on to the end...just read one scene...just as you’d meet and talk to a friend for a few minutes. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Novelists will write novels as long as people read them—and vice versa—unless the comic books [and TV and movies] atrophy the human brain and people cannot read any more.
Reading 137 Faulkner: I imagine as long as people will continue to read novels, people will continue to write them, or vice versa; unless of course the pictorial magazines and comic strips finally atrophy man’s capacity to read, and literature really is on its way back to the picture writing in the Neanderthal cave. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

People read books to find answers to their problems.
Reading 147 Simenon: I know that there are many men who have more or less the same problems I have, with more or less intensity, and who will be happy to read the book to find the answer…. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

People read novels to explore their troubles.
Reading 148 Simenon: …readers…want a novel to probe their troubles. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Great books should leave you feeling slightly exhausted at the end.
Reading 274 Wm. Styron: What I really mean is that a great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

The commercial writer is basically an entertainer.
Reading 117 Richard Summers on the short story: The commercial or craft writer is primarily an entertainer. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

The quality writer is basically a teacher.
Reading 117 Richard Summers on the short story: The quality writer, the creative artist, is fundamentally a teacher. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

Women read women’s magazine stories to see how other women deal with the same problems they have.
Reading 138 W-T Budlong: Women’s magazine readers…read a story, note the heroine’s attack on her problem, and say, “So that’s how she handled it…if I tried that, would it work on Henry?” Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

The reader lives with his book until it becomes a source for his growth.
Reading 200 M.L. Robinson: The reader takes his book into the quiet of his mind, and there he stays with it until it has become a part of his thinking and his feeling: you have…become a source of his growth. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

Plays appeal to many senses; books suggest ideas and feeling; neither will supplant the other.
Reading 296 Erik Barnouw: To enjoy, simultaneously, stimuli to practically all the senses, as one can in watching a play, is one kind of audience satisfaction[;] on the other hand, to be stirred by mere suggestion into a great deal of thinking and feeling, is another kind[;] both kinds have a strong hold over us [and] neither seems likely to supplant the other. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

He read with no plan in mind as chance put books in his way.
Reading 26 Yet he [Johnson] read a great deal in a desultory manner, without any scheme of study, as chance threw books in his way, and inclination directed him through them. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

He was able to find the essence of a book without reading it from beginning to end.
Reading 34 He [Johnson] had a peculiar facility in seizing at once what was valuable in any book, without submitting to the labor of perusing it from beginning to end. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

He picked up Johnson’s Life of Savage, began reading it with his arm on the mantle piece, became so absorbed in it that when he finished it his arm had fallen asleep.
Reading 96 Sir Joshua Reynolds told me, that upon his return from Italy he met with [Johnson’s Life of Savage] in Devonshire, knowing nothing of its author, and began to read it while he was standing with his arm leaning against a chimney piece…seized his attention so strongly, that, not being able to lay down the book till he finished it, when he attempted to move, he found his arm totally benumbed. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

When reading is forced on someone, it will do him little good.
Reading 266 Johnson on reading: A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

When you are young, read five hours a day.
Reading 266 Johnson on reading: A young man should read five hours in a day, and so may acquire a great deal of knowledge. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

It’s not the number of books you have that counts, but how you use them.
Reading 336 Johnson: I hope, whether we have more books or not than they have at Cambridge, we shall make as good use of them as they do. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

Books are only as good as you are ready for them.
Reading 1020 But books are good only as far as a boy is ready for them. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Culture.

You have to be as great a genius as Swedenborg in order to read him with comprehension.
Reading 682 It [reading Swedenborg’s books] requires for his just apprehension [comprehension], almost a genius equal to his own. Emerson, Representative Men: Swedenborg, or The Mystic.

Classics may make you fall asleep at home, but they might charm you in a different setting.
Reading 782 Classics which at home are drowsily read have a strange charm in a country inn, or in…a merchant brig. Emerson, English Traits.

To read well, you must be an inventor.
Reading 59 One must be an inventor to read well. Emerson, The American Scholar.

When the mind is stimulated by a book, every sentence and every page becomes luminous [i.e., clear and inspiring].
Reading 59 When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion..., every sentence...doubly significant. Emerson, The American Scholar.

Books are commentaries on our lives.
Reading 239 The student is to read history actively and not passively; to esteem his own life the text, and books the commentary. Emerson, History.

No two people ever understand the same book in the same way.
Reading 314 Take the book into your two hands, and read your eyes out; you will never find what I find. Emerson, Spiritual Laws.

No book is so bad that there isn’t some good in it.
Reading 550 “There is no book so bad,” said the bachelor, “that there is not something good in it.” [Pliny the Elder] Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Part Two: 1615.

He would read the book and then spend an afternoon talking about it with the author.
Reading 191 …he [Harriman] did his homework (when he heard that Whiting’s book on China crossing the Yalu was good, he did not ask some young officer to brief him on it; he read it himself and then summoned Whiting to spend an entire Sunday going over it). Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

LBJ never went to a symphony or read a book and he boasted of it.
Reading 439 The idea of his [Johnson’s] going to a symphony or reading a book was preposterous, and before he took office he would boast of how little he read. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

As an older man, I don’t read; I read enough when I was young to last a lifetime.
Reading 261 “O, I read no literature now,” said Lydgate… “I read so much when I was a lad, that I suppose it will last me all my life.” George Eliot, Middlemarch.

Reading is cheap, consoles, distracts, excites, gives knowledge and wide experience.
Reading 11 Elizabeth Hardwick on reading: It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

I want authors who can lift me out of myself.
Reading 14 Henry Miller: I’m always looking for the author who can lift me out of myself.

Read my work to enjoy it; whatever else you get out of it, you brought to the reading.
Reading 206 Hemingway: Read anything I write for the pleasure of reading it[;] whatever else you find will be the measure of what you brought to the reading. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

When you leave school, you no longer have to finish books you don’t like.
Reading 245 John Irving: One reward of leaving school is that you don’t have to finish books you don’t like. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

I read, but I don’t retain.
Reading 152 And if I am a man of some reading, I am a man of no retention. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I read to avoid boredom.
Reading 154 If this book bores me, I take another, and I indulge in it only at such times as the boredom of doing nothing begins to grip me. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I can’t read for long periods of time.
Reading 158 Plutarch…and Seneca…do not require the necessity of prolonged reading, of which I am incapable. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I would have the author begin with his conclusion.
Reading 159 I would have a man [writer] begin with the conclusion. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

In order to remember what I have read, I note when I finished it and my judgment of it.
Reading 165 To remedy a little the treachery and defect of my memory (so extreme that it has happened to me more than once to take books again into my hand as though new and unknown to me which I had carefully read a few years before and scribbled with my notes), I have taken a custom of late to put at the end of every book (I am speaking of those I do not intend to read again) the time when I finished reading it and the judgment I had formed of it on the whole, in order that this might at least reproduce for me the air and general idea I had conceived of the author in reading it. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I skim through books; I don’t study them.
Reading 209 I thumb through books, I do not study them. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I read to put my judgment to work, not my memory.
Reading 303 Reading serves me particularly to arouse my reason by presenting various subjects to it, to put my judgment to work, not my memory. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I read when I was young in order to show off; later for some knowledge; now for recreation.
Reading 315 I studied when young for ostentation; later, a little, to acquire wisdom; now for recreation…. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

I just read an entire book; seldom before have I ever been able to spend an hour on a book.
Reading 435 I have just run straight through Tacitus’ History (which seldom happens with me; it is twenty years since I have put a whole hour at one time on a book)… Montaigne, Selected Essays.

There are so many books that the world has become tongue-tied.
Reading 439 What must prattle produce, since the stammering and untying of the tongue smothered the world with such a horrible load of volumes? Montaigne, Selected Essays.

The things I want to know are in books.
Reading 37 Lincoln: “The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll git me a book I ain’t read.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Books told Abe more than they told other people who read the same books.
Reading 38 It seemed that Abe made books tell him more than they told other people. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Lincoln read people the way he read books.
Reading 40 [Lincoln] tried to read people as keenly as he read books. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Books became a part of Lincoln’s mind.
Reading 177 Lincoln’s sense of history and the past, for all his incessant newspaper reading, came from books that became part of his mind. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Lincoln read and quoted the Bible.
Reading 181 Lincoln, however, read the Bible closely, knew it from cover to cover, its famous texts, stories and psalms; he quoted it in talks to juries, in speeches, in letters. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Lincoln read Euclid by candlelight after the other circuit lawyers were asleep.
Reading 197 On the circuit when the other lawyers, two in a bed, eight or ten in on one hotel room, he read Euclid by the light of a candle after others had dropped off to sleep. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

One’s love of Mr. Pickwick grows with much re-reading.
Reading vi The love of Mr. Pickwick is of a comparatively slow growth and comes gradually with much rereading, but it is the deepest of all. B. Darwin. Dickens, Pickwick.

Studying books leads to no further activity; conversation, on the other hand, exercises the mind and teaches at the same time.
Reading vs. conversation 412 The study of books is a languishing and feeble activity that produces no heat, whereas conversation teaches and exercises at the same time. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

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