For out of olde feldes, as men seyth,
Cometh al this newe corn fro yer to yere;
And out of olde bokes, in good feyth,
Cometh al this newe science that men lere.
(Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Parliament of Fowls”, l. 22)
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some book also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others.
(Francis Bacon, “Of Studies”)
A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.
(John Milton, “Areopagitica”)
Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good;
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
(William Wordsworth, “Personal Talk”, sonnet 3)
In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time; the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.
(Thomas Carlyle, Heroes and Hero-Worship, v, “The Hero as Man of Letters”)
’Tis the good reader that makes the good book.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Success”)
Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they are written.
(Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 3. “Reading”)
Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.
(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies, “Preface”)
Something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read. [A classic.]
(Mark Twain, Speech at dinner of the Nineteenth Century Club, 20 Nov., 1900)