Stephen King has called books “a uniquely portable magic.” It’s probably one reason that Americans still buy approximately five million books a day and that 125 new ones are published in the US every twenty-four hours. In fact, Google estimates that as of August 2010, there were 129,864,880 books in existence. This love affair with the written word has a long and passionate history and, unsurprisingly, its most ardent supporters have often been writers. Here’s why in their own words.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” — Oscar Wilde
“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” — Henry David Thoreau
“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” — Victor Hugo
“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we believe we left without having lived them, those we spent with a favorite book.” — Marcel Proust
“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” — Mark Twain
“Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations.” — Vladimir Nabokov
“We read to know that we are not alone.” — C.S. Lewis
“When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.” — Virginia Woolf
“The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.” — Gustave Flaubert
“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.” – Franz Kafka
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I am simply a ‘book drunkard.’ Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” — L.M. Montgomery
“I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.” – Ray Bradbury
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges
Ernest Hemingway once said “All American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.” While many have challenged Ernest’s view, there’s no denying that over a career spanning more than three decades, Papa became a master of his craft.
In his lifetime, he published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. His last major work of fiction, The Old Man and the Sea won him the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to the awarding of him the Nobel Prize in Literature a year later. Simply put, if you love books and writing, you should listen to his words of wisdom carefully. Here’s seven of his quotes we find most inspirational.
On September 30th it will be 84 years since the world’s first television broadcast. Television, named after Latin and Greek words meaning “far sight”, is arguably one of the most influential technologies ever invented. Since the 1950s it’s been the main medium for melding public opinion and now an incredible 78 percent of the world’s households own at least one TV set. Yet throughout its long and illustrious history it’s been the subject of much criticism. Here’s ten writers, film makers, musicians and poets who who got turned off by the tube.
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” – John Lennon
“Seeing a murder on television… can help work off one’s antagonisms. And if you haven’t any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.” – Alfred Hitchcock
“Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.” – T. S. Eliot
“I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts.” – Orson Welles
“What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.” – W.H. Auden, The Dyer’s Hand
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx
“If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.” – Edward R. Murrow
“Television: chewing gum for the eyes.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
“So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.” – Roald Dahl
“I haven’t had a TV in 10 years, and I really don’t miss it. ‘Cause it’s always so much more fun to be with people than it ever was to be with a television.” – Chuck Palahniuk
Fahrenheit 451 published by Ray Bradbury in 1953 is arguably one of the greatest dystopian novels ever written. To see why check out some of the most awe-inspiring Fahrenheit 451 quotes from a novel guaranteed to make you think differently.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
One of the most iconic and prolific song writers of the 20th century, John Lennon had plenty to say about the state of the world. Here are ten of his insights that will make you think about a little differently about life, love and the universe.
If we had to name our top ten things in the universe, Carl Sagan and books would both be very strong contenders. It’s no surprise then that this excerpt from the 11th episode of his legendary 1980s Cosmos series, titled “The Persistence of Memory,” makes us tingle with delight every time we read it.
You’d be excused for thinking light painting a very modern phenomenon, but way back in 1949 Pablo Picasso had the chance to demonstrate his expertise in his own special way. This artistic experiment came about courtesy of Gjon Mili, a photographer who at the time worked for LIFE. To entice Picasso, Mili showcased some of his images of ice skaters with lights fixed to their skates, jumping in the dark. Picasso was so impressed with the results, he created a series of projected light drawings in a dark room with two separate cameras and a small electric light attempting to ‘paint’ his versions of centaurs, bulls and greek profiles. To see how successful he check out his work below.
1. Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you.
2. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
3. “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Ernest Hemingway
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