I just talked to a bookclub in New York and one of the questions they asked was “Do you like to read?” That was an easy question. I not only like to read, I feel deprived when life keeps me too busy to read as much as I want. I’m one of those people whose eyes seek out words, on the cereal box or toothpaste tube or billboards along the highway if that’s all that is at hand. Words are powerful. In the right hands, they can come together to tell an unforgettable story, inspire a generation, make you buy something you don’t need, or perhaps bring you to your knees.
And if you string enough words together you have a book – a story to be shared with readers. I like sharing my stories with readers, but I also like reading other writers’ stories. Reading fills my creative reservoir. When I’m researching and reading history books, whispers of stories bounce around inside my head. What if my character did this? What if he or she did that? When I read fiction, I might not be gathering ideas for a new story, but I’m absorbing the rhythm not only of the words but also of the characters’ lives. And that makes me a better writer when I do sit down to invent my next story.
So in honor of book club members everywhere who love reading so much they not only assign themselves a book to read every month they come together to say what they liked or didn’t like about the book, here are some quotes about books and reading.
- Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. ~Author Unknown (Ilike the idea behind this quote!)
- A good book has no ending. ~R.D. Cumming
- I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen, “Enough Bookshelves,” New York Times, 7 August 1991
- Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot
- Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind. ~James Russell Lowell
- If you have never said “Excuse me” to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time. ~Sherri Chasin Calvo
- These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice… and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart. ~Gilbert Highet
One of my goals for the year is to gift myself with a little extra time for reading. Hope you all read dozens of good books this year. But watch out for those fireplugs!