Reading Novels Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Reading Novels. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.
Jane Smiley (Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel)
Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.
Louis L'Amour (Matagorda/The First Fast Draw: Two Novels in One Volume)
Do your bit to save humanity from lapsing back into barbarity by reading all the novels you can.
Richard Hughes
Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.
Angela Carter
It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don't know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn't even be worth reading.
Yevgeny Zamyatin (We)
I can imagine no greater bliss than to lie about, reading novels all day.
Julia Quinn (Ten Things I Love About You (Bevelstoke, #3))
People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.
G.K. Chesterton
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." [Kung Fu Monkey -- Ephemera, blog post, March 19, 2009]
John Rogers
Unlike baked beans, loaves of breads, or Fuji apples, books, once consumed, do not disappear.
John Sutherland (How to Read a Novel)
Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks; but I never had the chance of discovering in that way; and you did not help me!
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
Why did people ask "What is it about?" as if a novel had to be about only one thing.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah)
People without hope not only don't write novels, but what is more to the point, they don't read them.
Flannery O'Connor
Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks…
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
One of the world's most tiresome questions is what object one would bring to a desert island,because people always answer "a deck of cards" or "Anna Karenina" when the obvious answer is "a well equipped boat and a crew to sail me off the island and back home where I can play all the card games and read all the Russian novels I want.
Lemony Snicket
The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)
While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren't there, we hear their voices... Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wishes to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.
E.M. Forster (Aspects of the Novel)
The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Essays and Aphorisms)
Reading a good long novel is in many ways like having a long and satisfying affair
Stephen King
If you surround yourself with the good and righteous, they can only raise you up. If you surround yourself with the others, they will drag you down into the doldrums of mediocrity, and they will keep you there, but only as long as you permit it.
Mark Glamack
The words you can’t find, you borrow. We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone. My life is in these books, he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart. We are not quite novels. The analogy he is looking for is almost there. We are not quite short stories. At this point, his life is seeming closest to that. In the end, we are collected works.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
I often hear people say that they read to escape reality, but I believe that what they’re really doing is reading to find reason for hope, to find strength. While a bad book leaves readers with a sense of hopelessness and despair, a good novel, through stories of values realized, of wrongs righted, can bring to readers a connection to the wonder of life. A good novel shows how life can and ought to be lived. It not only entertains but energizes and uplifts readers.
Terry Goodkind
[Harry] had always suffered from a vague restlessness, a longing for adventure that she told herself severely was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child.
Robin McKinley (The Blue Sword (Damar, #1))
would you reach in the drawer there and give me my purse. A girl doesn't read this sort of thing without her lipstick.
Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories)
A novel worth reading is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, of what human nature is, of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.
Susan Sontag
Too many adults wish to 'protect' teenagers when they should be stimulating them to read of life as it is lived.
Margaret A. Edwards
I recently spoke at a university where a student told me it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had recently read a novel called American Psycho,and that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The whole world's writing novels, but nobody's reading them.
Robert Galbraith (The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2))
He’d clearly never seen a rom-com or read a romance novel in his life.
Ali Hazelwood (The Love Hypothesis)
I don't understand." "How can you not understand?" He pointed at her books. "You read novels. Obviously, I'm here to rescue you. Don't I look like Sir Galahad? ... My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure - " Something echoed, far away inside the house - the sound of a door slamming. Will said a word Sir Galahad would never have said, and sprang away from the window.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1))
Reading was like a drug, a dope. The novels created moods in which I lived for days.
Richard Wright (Black Boy)
Deprived of their newspapers or a novel, reading-addicts will fall back onto cookery books, on the literature which is wrapped around bottles of patent medicine, on those instructions for keeping the contents crisp which are printed on the outside of boxes of breakfast cereals. On anything.
Aldous Huxley (Olive Tree)
You don't read Gatsby, I said, to learn whether adultery is good or bad but to learn about how complicated issues such as adultery and fidelity and marriage are. A great novel heightens your senses and sensitivity to the complexities of life and of individuals, and prevents you from the self-righteousness that sees morality in fixed formulas about good and evil.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
We don't read novels to have an experience like life. Heck, we're living lives, complete with all the incompleteness. We turn to fiction to have an author assure us that it means something.
Orson Scott Card
Entering a novel is like going on a climb in the mountains: you have to learn the rhythm of respiration, acquire the pace; otherwise you stop right away.
Umberto Eco (Postscript to the Name of the Rose)
They are embossed on every song that was a hit that summer, in every novel I read during and after his stay, on anything from the smell of rosemary on hot days to the frantic rattle of the cicadas in the afternoon—smells and sounds I’d grown up with and known every year of my life until then but that had suddenly turned on me and acquired an inflection forever colored by the events of that summer.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
Life must not be a novel that is given to us, but one that is made by us.
Novalis (Philosophical Writings)
The things that the novel does not say are necessarily more numerous than those it does say and only a special halo around what is written can give the illusion that you are reading also what is not written.
Italo Calvino
Reading a novel was like returning to a once-beloved holiday destination.
Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies)
Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn't exist in any declaration I have ever read. If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people. I can walk into a bookshop and point out a number of books that I find very unattractive in what they say. But it doesn't occur to me to burn the bookshop down. If you don't like a book, read another book. If you start reading a book and you decide you don't like it, nobody is telling you to finish it. To read a 600-page novel and then say that it has deeply offended you: well, you have done a lot of work to be offended.
Salman Rushdie
I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are or should be written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.
Anne Brontë (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)
When I'm really into a novel, I'm seeing the world differently during that time— not just for the hour or so in the day when I get to read. I'm actually walking around in a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism.
Colin Firth
This is why I read novels: so I can escape my own unrelenting monologue.
Carol Shields (Unless)
His gaze slid over me like a veil of fire. He could ignite my deepest desires with a single glance. I decided right then and there no more reading romance novels by candelight.
Darynda Jones (Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2))
There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his sense tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence.
Flannery O'Connor (Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (FSG Classics))
These are all novels, all about people that never existed, the people that read them it makes them unhappy with their own lives. Makes them want to live in other ways they can never really be.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
She understood now why her friend Elizabeth, with her near-genius, analytical mind gave wide berth to murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, and horror stories, and read only romance novels. Because, by God, when a woman picked up one of those steamy books, she had a firm guarantee that there would be a Happily-Ever-After. That though the world outside those covers could bring such sorrow and disappointment and loneliness, between those covers, the world was a splendid place to be.
Karen Marie Moning (Darkfever (Fever, #1))
Tucking my nose into a book makes me completely oblivious to my surroundings. I would have made a terrible spy in the army--the first person to hand me a novel would have been able to shoot my head clean off without me noticing.
Alyxandra Harvey (Haunting Violet (Haunting Violet, #1))
The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction)
Poetry, plays, novels, music, they are the cry of the human spirit trying to understand itself and make sense of our world.
L.M. Elliott (Annie, Between the States)
Oh! And they read English novels! David! Did you ever look into an English novel? Well, do not trouble yourself. It is nothing but a lot of nonsense about girls with fanciful names getting married.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell)
For some reason, notwithstanding the alienation and utter rejection, I consider myself a global citizen. They say misery calls for company and I’ve always been a man of funerals. The companion of the misfortunate, until they are not!
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.
Toni Morrison
It is not mysterious to be home on a Saturday night, reading a novel in a pile of smelly golden retrievers.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
If you can read and have more imagination than a doorknob, what need do you have for a 'movie version' of a novel?
Wendell Berry (What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth)
Daisy had known the novel was silly even as she had read it, but that had not detracted one bit from her enjoyment.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
That is the joy of reading fiction: when all is said and done, the novel belongs to the reader and his or her imagination.
Alice Hoffman
We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.
John Gardner (On Becoming a Novelist)
I often find that a novel, even a well-written and compelling novel, can become a blur to me soon after I've finished reading it. I recollect perfectly the feeling of reading it, the mood I occupied, but I am less sure about the narrative details. It is almost as if the book were, as Wittgenstein said of his propositions, a ladder to be climbed and then discarded after it has served its purpose.
Sven Birkerts (The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age)
I spent the period reading the first novel assigned for English. And wow. If I hadn't realized I was in France yet, I do now. Because Like Water for Chocolate has sex in it. LOTS of sex.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
When I want to read a novel, I write one.
Benjamin Disraeli
It's true, reading too many novels makes you go blind.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Empathy lies at the heart of Gatsby, like so many other great novels--the biggest sin is to be blind to others' problems and pains. Not seeing them means denying their existence.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Novels aren’t just happy escapes; they are slivers of people’s souls, nailed to the pages, dripping ink from veins of wood pulp. Reading the right one at the right time can make all the difference.
Brandon Sanderson
هو لا يفهم أن نفسيتي كإناء من "الكريستال" الرقيق تكفيه نقرة جافة ليتصدع إلى الأبد. لا، هو لا يفهم أن جهود حياته بأكملها لن تعيد الإناء إلى نقاءه الأصلي.
كوليت الخوري (أيام معه)
You guys read romance novels?” “We call them manuals.
Lyssa Kay Adams (The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1))
A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read ‘The Lost Symbol’, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.
The Economist
I’ve read hundreds of novels in my life, most of them claiming that love was the center of the universe. That it could heal any damage inside of us. That it was what we needed to survive. From Darcy to Heathcliff, I thought they were fools. That love was something fictional, only found in worn pages of a book. That it was just made up to keep humans full of hope, that it was a lie. But all that changed since I met my Elizabeth Bennett. I never thought I would find myself completely and utterly consumed by another until her. She took my hand and led me out of the darkness and showed me that, whatever our souls are made of, hers and mine are the same. I’m sorry, please forgive me. You once asked me who I loved most in this world. It’s you. — Hardin ( Movie- "After" - Hardin's letter to Tessa )
Anna Todd
I've come to realize that however blue my circumstances, if after finishing a chapter of a Dickens novel I feel a miss-my-stop-on-the-train sort of compulsion to read on, then everything is probably going to be just fine.
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
Of course, in a novel, people’s hearts break, and they die, and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient. But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright dies to us. There is a most busy and important round of eating, drinking, dressing, walking, visiting, buying, selling, talking, reading, and all that makes up what is commonly called living, yet to be gone through…
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin)
A writer flirts with schizophrenia, nurtures synesthesia, and embraces obsessive-compulsive disorder. Your art feeds on you, your soul, and, yes, to a degree, your sanity. Writing novels worth reading will bugger up your mind, jeopardize your relationships, and distend your life. You have been warned.
David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
Every story has already been told. Once you've read Anna Karenina, Bleak House, The Sound and the Fury, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Wrinkle in Time, you understand that there is really no reason to ever write another novel. Except that each writer brings to the table, if she will let herself, something that no one else in the history of time has ever had." [Commencement Speech; Mount Holyoke College, May 23, 1999]
Anna Quindlen
A novel is not an allegory.... It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don't enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won't be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing.
Azar Nafisi
When we're done with it, we may find—if it's a good novel—that we're a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having meet a new face, crossed a street we've never crossed before.
Ursula K. Le Guin
It’s not so easy to walk away from someone when he has made his way into every cell, when he has taken over every thought, and he has been responsible for the best and worst feelings I’ve ever had. No one, not even the doubting part of me, can make me feel bad for loving passionately and hoping desperately that I could have that great love that I’ve read about in novels.
Anna Todd (After Ever Happy (After, #4))
And she understood, all by herself, without reading it in a novel or hearing it on a radio program, that falling passionately in love with someone, without reservation or holding back, was good for the heart. For its valves and its arteries and that invisible shadow of the heart called the soul. Falling in love was good for the soul.
Paulette Jiles (Stormy Weather)
For I’m neither a submitter nor a hating retaliator, I acknowledge the boundaries of my existence; yet, I still care. I care regardless of the way they choose to reduce me to the brand that is the birthmark of the accident of my conception. I care less about what that brand signifies in terms of my character, potential, and intentions. For the harmed I care. For the real victims. It’s the most basic of my mandatory civil duties. Only in caring, am I a citizen of the world.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
I’ve been told that I cannot change shit, so I might as well stop torturing myself. My emotions are ridiculed and branded as childish. I have been told that the world has given up on my people. I have been told, and realise that on many occasions, I myself am viewed as an outcast by some of those suffering. I’ve been confronted and my answer is always the same: I care even in my most fucked-up moments. I care even when gates of shit pour open to drown me; I care because I am a citizen of the world.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
As a citizen of the world, it’s my instinct to keep the fallen and the suffering in my thoughts. The human brain fascinates me; its limitless bounds of empathy. You see, in my mind there is logic to it: do no harm, prevent harm, help, support, care for the harmed, face the harmer. My stupid idealist conscience considers sympathy, not pity, at its worst, the most basic and the least negotiable civil duty. Of course as a citizen of the world, I should strive to do more. That said, I am only a man and so I often do the least.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
What did I know of life, I who had lived so carefully? Who had neither won nor lost, but just let life happen to him? Who had the usual ambitions and settled all too quickly for them not being realised? Who avoided being hurt and called it a capacity for survival? Who paid his bills, stayed on good terms with everyone as far as possible, for whom ecstasy and despair soon became just words once read in novels? One whose self-rebukes never really inflicted pain? Well, there was all this to reflect upon, while I endured a special kind of remorse: a hurt inflicted at long last on one who always thought he knew how to avoid being hurt—and inflicted for precisely that reason.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we're done with it, we may find - if it's a good novel - that we're a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have changed a little... But it's very hard to say just what we learned, how we were changed.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Please stop patronizing those who are reading a book - The Da Vinci Code, maybe- because they are enjoying it. For a start, none of us know what kind of an effort this represents for the individual reader. It could be his or her first full-length adult novel; it might be the book that finally reveals the purpose and joy of reading to someone who has hitherto been mystified by the attraction books exert on others. And anyway, reading for enjoyment is what we should all be doing. I don't mean we should all be reading chick lit or thrillers (although if that's what you want to read, it's fine by me, because here's something no one else will tell you: if you don't read the classics, or the novel that won this year's Booker Prize, then nothing bad will happen to you; more importantly,nothing good will happen to you if you do); I simply mean that turning pages should not be like walking through thick mud. The whole purpose of books is that we read them, and if you find you can't, it might not be your inadequacy that's to blame. "Good" books can be pretty awful sometimes.
Nick Hornby (Housekeeping vs. the Dirt)
You only learn when you give your whole being to something. When you give your whole being to mathematics,you learn; but when you are in a state of contradiction, when you do not want to learn but are forced to learn, then it becomes merely a process of accumulation. To learn is like reading a novel with innumerable characters; it requires your full attention, not contradictory attention.
J. Krishnamurti (The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti)
A man's bookcase will tell you everything you'll ever need to know about him," my father had told me more than once. "A businessman has business books and a dream has novels and books of poetry. Most women like reading about love, and a true revolutionary will have books about the minutiae of overthrowing the oppressor. A person with no books is inconsequential in a modern setting, but a peasant that reads is a prince in waiting.
Walter Mosley (THE LONG FALL: A NOVEL (LEONID MCGILL MYSTERY 1))
So I kept reading, just to stay alive. In fact, I'd read two or three books at the same time, so I wouldn't finish one without being in the middle of another -- anything to stop me from falling into the big, gaping void. You see, books fill the empty spaces. If I'm waiting for a bus, or am eating alone, I can always rely on a book to keep me company. Sometimes I think I like them even more than people. People will let you down in life. They'll disappoint you and hurt you and betray you. But not books. They're better than life.
Marc Acito (How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater (Edward Zanni, #1))
I read old novels. The reason is simple: I prefer proper endings. Marriages and deaths, noble sacrifices and miraculous restorations, tragic separations and unhoped-for reunions, great falls and dreams fulfilled; these, in my view, constitute an ending worth the wait. They should come after adventures, perils, dangers and dilemmas, and wind everything up nice and neatly. Endings like this are to be found more commonly in old novels than new ones, so I read old novels.
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
The conversations that follow are gratifying for Connell, often taking unexpected turns and prompting him to express ideas he had never consciously formulated before. They talk about the novels he's reading, the research she studies, the precise historical moment that they are currently living in, the difficulty of observing such a moment in process. At times he has the sensation that he and Marianne are like figure-skaters, improvising their discussions so adeptly and in such perfect synchronisation that it suprises them both. She tosses herself gracefully into the air, and each time, without knowing how he's going to do it, he catches her.
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
While an elderly man in his mid-eighties looks curiously at a porno site, his grandson asks him from afar, “‘What are you reading, grandpa?’” “‘It’s history, my boy.’” “The grandson comes nearer and exclaims, “‘But this is a porno site, grandpa, naked chicks, sex . . . a lot of sex!’” “‘Well, it’s sex for you, my son, but for me it’s history,’ the old man says with a sigh.” All of people in the cabin burst into laughter. “A stale joke, but a cool one,” added William More, the man who just told the joke. The navigator skillfully guided the flying disc among the dense orange-yellow blanket of clouds in the upper atmosphere that they had just entered. Some of the clouds were touched with a brownish hue at the edges. The rest of the pilots gazed curiously and intently outwards while taking their seats. The flying saucer descended slowly, the navigator’s actions exhibiting confidence. He glanced over at the readings on the monitors below the transparent console: Atmosphere: Dense, 370 miles thick, 98.4% nitrogen, 1.4% methane Temperature on the surface: ‒179°C / ‒290°F Density: 1.88 g/cm³ Gravity: 86% of Earth’s Diameter of the cosmic body: 3200 miles / 5150 km.
Todor Bombov (Homo Cosmicus 2: Titan: A Science Fiction Novel)
Books are, let's face it, better than everything else. If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. “The Magic Flute” v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. “The Last Supper” v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on points. See? I mean, I don’t know how scientific this is, but it feels like the novels are walking it. You might get the occasional exception -– “Blonde on Blonde” might mash up The Old Curiosity Shop, say, and I wouldn’t give much for Pale Fire’s chance against Citizen Kane. And every now and again you'd get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I'm still backing literature 29 times out of 30.
Nick Hornby (The Polysyllabic Spree)
Soon after the completion of his college course, his whole nature was kindled into one intense and passionate effervescence of romantic passion. His hour came,—the hour that comes only once; his star rose in the horizon,—that star that rises so often in vain, to be remembered only as a thing of dreams; and it rose for him in vain. To drop the figure,—he saw and won the love of a high-minded and beautiful woman, in one of the northern states, and they were affianced. He returned south to make arrangements for their marriage, when, most unexpectedly, his letters were returned to him by mail, with a short note from her guardian, stating to him that ere this reached him the lady would be the wife of another. Stung to madness, he vainly hoped, as many another has done, to fling the whole thing from his heart by one desperate effort. Too proud to supplicate or seek explanation, he threw himself at once into a whirl of fashionable society, and in a fortnight from the time of the fatal letter was the accepted lover of the reigning belle of the season; and as soon as arrangements could be made, he became the husband of a fine figure, a pair of bright dark eyes, and a hundred thousand dollars; and, of course, everybody thought him a happy fellow. The married couple were enjoying their honeymoon, and entertaining a brilliant circle of friends in their splendid villa, near Lake Pontchartrain, when, one day, a letter was brought to him in that well-remembered writing. It was handed to him while he was in full tide of gay and successful conversation, in a whole room-full of company. He turned deadly pale when he saw the writing, but still preserved his composure, and finished the playful warfare of badinage which he was at the moment carrying on with a lady opposite; and, a short time after, was missed from the circle. In his room,alone, he opened and read the letter, now worse than idle and useless to be read. It was from her, giving a long account of a persecution to which she had been exposed by her guardian's family, to lead her to unite herself with their son: and she related how, for a long time, his letters had ceased to arrive; how she had written time and again, till she became weary and doubtful; how her health had failed under her anxieties, and how, at last, she had discovered the whole fraud which had been practised on them both. The letter ended with expressions of hope and thankfulness, and professions of undying affection, which were more bitter than death to the unhappy young man. He wrote to her immediately: I have received yours,—but too late. I believed all I heard. I was desperate. I am married, and all is over. Only forget,—it is all that remains for either of us." And thus ended the whole romance and ideal of life for Augustine St. Clare. But the real remained,—the real, like the flat, bare, oozy tide-mud, when the blue sparkling wave, with all its company of gliding boats and white-winged ships, its music of oars and chiming waters, has gone down, and there it lies, flat, slimy, bare,—exceedingly real. Of course, in a novel, people's hearts break, and they die, and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient. But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright dies to us.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin)
My turn now. The story of one of my insanities. For a long time I boasted that I was master of all possible landscapes-- and I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable. What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets, carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints, old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children's books, old operas, silly old songs, the naive rhythms of country rimes. I dreamed of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals, movements of races and continents; I used to believe in every kind of magic. I invented colors for the vowels! A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. I made rules for the form and movement of every consonant, and I boasted of inventing, with rhythms from within me, a kind of poetry that all the senses, sooner or later, would recognize. And I alone would be its translator. I began it as an investigation. I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.
Arthur Rimbaud
Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about controlabout who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship's bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don't want just to make sure it's kept from my kid; I want to make sure it's kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: "If it's bad for me and my family, it's bad for everyone's family." Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I'm never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know.
Stephen King
I've read hundreds of novels in my life, most of them claiming that love was the center of the universe. That it could heal any damage inside of us. That it was what we need to survive. From Darcy to Heathcliff I tought they were fools. That love was something fictional, only found in worn pages of a book. But all that has changed since I met my Elizabeth Bennet. I never thought I would find myself completely and utterly consumed by another until her. She took my hand and lead me out of the darkness and showed me that, whatever our souls are made for hers and mine are the same. You once asked me who I loved most in this world, it's you.
Hardin Scott
He was a man of very few words, and as it was impossible to talk, one had to keep silent. It’s hard work talking to some people, most often males. I have a Theory about it. With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen me, the people I have known, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on the black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates,. Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story, or a novel....Readers are fools. They believe all writing is autobiographical. And so it is, but not in the way they think. The writer's life needs time to rot away before it can be used to nourish a work of fiction. It must be allowed to decay.
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
As adults we choose our own reading material. Depending on our moods and needs we might read the newspaper, a blockbuster novel, an academic article, a women's magazine, a comic, a children's book, or the latest book that just about everyone is reading. No one chastises us for our choice. No one says, 'That's too short for you to read.' No one says, 'That's too easy for you, put it back.' No one says 'You couldn't read that if you tried -- it's much too difficult.' Yet if we take a peek into classrooms, libraries, and bookshops we will notice that children's choices are often mocked, censured, and denied as valid by idiotic, interfering teachers, librarians, and parents. Choice is a personal matter that changes with experience, changes with mood, and changes with need. We should let it be.
Mem Fox (Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living)
I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Nora Stephens,” he says, “I’ve racked my brain and this is the best I can come up with, so I really hope you like it.” His gaze lifts, everything about it, about his face, about his posture, about him made up of sharp edges and jagged bits and shadows, all of it familiar, all of it perfect. Not for someone else, maybe, but for me. “I move back to New York,” he says. “I get another editing job, or maybe take up agenting, or try writing again. You work your way up at Loggia, and we’re both busy all the time, and down in Sunshine Falls, Libby runs the local business she saved, and my parents spoil your nieces like the grandkids they so desperately want, and Brendan probably doesn’t get much better at fishing, but he gets to relax and even take paid vacations with your sister and their kids. And you and I—we go out to dinner. “Wherever you want, whenever you want. We have a lot of fun being city people, and we’re happy. You let me love you as much as I know I can, for as long as I know I can, and you have it fucking all. That’s it. That’s the best I could come up with, and I really fucking hope you say—” I kiss him then, like there isn’t someone reading one of the Bridgerton novels five feet away, like we’ve just found each other on a deserted island after months apart. My hands in his hair, my tongue catching on his teeth, his palms sliding around behind me and squeezing me to him in the most thoroughly public groping we’ve managed yet. “I love you, Nora,” he says when we pull apart a few inches to breathe. “I think I love everything about you.
Emily Henry (Book Lovers)
Advice to friends. Advice to fellow mothers in the same boat. "How do you do it all?" Crack a joke. Make it seem easy. Make everything seem easy. Make life seem easy and parenthood and marriage and freelancing for pennies, writing a novel and smiling after a rejection, keeping the faith after two, reminding oneself that four years of work counted for a lot, counted for everything. Make the bed. Make it nice. Make the people laugh when you sit down to write and if you can't make them laugh make them cry. Make them want to hug you or hold you or punch you in the face. Make them want to kill you or fuck you or be your friend. Make them change. Make them happy. Make the baby smile. Make him laugh. Make him dinner. Make him proud. Hold the phone, someone is on the other line. She says its important. People are dying. Children. Friends. Press mute because there is nothing you can say. Press off because you're running out of minutes. Running out of time. Soon he'll be grown up and you'll regret the time you spent pushing him away for one more paragraph in the manuscript no one will ever read. Put down the book, the computer, the ideas. Remember who you are now. Wait. Remember who you were. Wait. Remember what's important. Make a list. Ten things, no twenty. Twenty thousand things you want to do before you die but what if tomorrow never comes? No one will remember. No one will know. No one will laugh or cry or make the bed. No one will have a clue which songs to sing to the baby. No one will be there for the children. No one will finish the first draft of the novel. No one will publish the one that's been finished for months. No one will remember the thought you had last night, that great idea you forgot to write down.
Rebecca Woolf