Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

A Sacred Indulgence

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Give me a great novel or memoir, some tea, and a cozy spot to curl up in, and I’m in heaven. I love to live in another person’s thoughts; I marvel at the bonds I feel with people who come alive on the page, regardless of how different their circumstances might be from mine. I not only feel I know these people, but I also recognize more of myself. Insight, information, knowledge, inspiration, power: All that and more can come through a good book….

Books, for me, used to be a way to escape. I now consider reading a good book a sacred indulgence, a chance to be any place I choose. It is my absolute favorite way to spend time. What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing.

— Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure, p. 25-26

Lending Books

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Lending books to other people is merely a shrewd form of housecleaning.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books, p.19

Road Signs of My Beloved Books

Friday, June 7th, 2013

I know that my life is marked by the road signs of my beloved books, each one symbolizing who I was when I read it, shaping who I have become. The uninitiated might say that I am lost in my books, but I know I am more found than lost.

— Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, p. 49

Lending Books

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Lending books to others is merely a shrewd form of housecleaning.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books, p. 19

Using Books

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The delight I derive from writing in my books is one reason I do not own an e-book reader. To me books are talismans and memento mori, yes, but they are also toys. I like to play with my books, to mark them up, to give them a lived-in look. I like to stack them up on the shelf and move them about and rearrange them according to new parameters — height, color, thickness, provenance, publisher, author’s nationality, subject matter, likelihood that I will ever read them. Then I put them back the way they were. I love to pull my books down off the shelf and read striking passages to baffled dimwits who have turned up at my house. From the moment I own a book, even before I open it to the first page, I feel that it has in some way changed my life. I treat my books the same way I treat my clothes or my shoes or my records: I use them. You cannot do any of this with a Kindle.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books, p. 15

Talking About Books

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

I do need to talk about books. Because talking about books allows me to talk about anything with anyone. With family, friends, and even with strangers who contacted me through my Web site (and became friends), when we discuss what we are reading, what we are really discussing is our own lives, our take on everything from sorrow to fidelity to responsibility, from money to religion, from worrying to inebriation, from sex to laundry, and back again. No topic is taboo, as long as we can tie it in to a book we’ve read, and all responses are allowed, couched in terms of characters and their situations.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 210-211

Time to Read

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I have never squandered an opportunity to read. There are only twenty-four hours in the day, seven of which are spent sleeping, and in my view at least four of the remaining seventeen must be devoted to reading. Of course, four hours a day does not provide me with nearly enough time to satisfy my appetites. A friend once told me that the real message Bram Stoker sought to convey in Dracula is that a human being needs to live hundreds and hundreds of years to get all his reading done; that Count Dracula was a misunderstood bookworm, was draining blood from the porcelain-like necks of ten thousand hapless virgins not because he was the apotheosis of evil but because it was the only way he could live long enough to polish off his reading list. But I have no way of knowing if this is true, as I have not yet found time in my life to read Dracula.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books

Knowing the Unknowable

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

I wanted to know the unknowable and my father, the scientist, the professor, could not tell me. My mother could because she read fiction and fantasy. But it was coded so that it appealed to a part of the brain beyond consciousness, so it carried the feeling of being a right answer without any way to articulate it, in the same way that an aroma of gardenias can reach inside you and find its rightful place, its confirmation, and yet remain out of reach of some literal explanation of its effects. The scent of a gardenia is true even if you can’t articulate it. Or, as Edna St. Vincent Millay put it, “It is a thing that exists simply, like a sapphire, like anything roundly beautiful; there is nothing to be done about it.”

— Laurence Gonzales, Surviving Survival, p. 141

We Are Not Alone.

Friday, February 15th, 2013

But books were showing me that everyone suffers, at different times in our lives. And that yes, in fact, there were many people who knew exactly what I was going through. Now, through reading, I found that suffering and finding joy are universal experiences, and that those experiences are the connection between me and the rest of the world. My friends could have told me the same, I know, but with friends there are always barriers, hidden corners, and covered emotions. In books, the characters are made known to me, inside and out, and in knowing them, I know myself, and the real people who populate my world.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 141

Experience on the Page

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Those two books — and all the great books I was reading — were about the complexity and entirety of the human experience. About the things we wish to forget and those we want more and more of. About how we react and how we wish we could react. Books are experience, the words of authors proving the solace of love, the fulfillment of family, the torment of war, and the wisdom of memory. Joy and tears, pleasure and pain: everything came to me while I read in my purple chair. I had never sat so still, and yet experienced so much.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 139