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He that I am reading seems always to have the most force.
- Michel Eyquem de Montaigne,
Apology for Raimond Sebond
The love of reading enables a man to exchange the wearisome hours of life which come to every one for hours of delight.
- Charles de Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat)
People take England on trust, and repeat that Shakespeare is the greatest of all authors. I have read him: there is nothing that compares Racine or Corneille: his plays are unreadable, pitiful.
- Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I),
in "The Coriscan," edited by R.M. Johnston
Books never pall me. They discourse with us, they take counsel with us, and are united to us by a certain living chatty familiarity. And not only does each book inspire the sense that it belongs to its readers, but it also suggests the name of others, and one begets the desire of the other.
- Francesco Petrarch, Letters
Mr. Johnson had never, by his own account, been a close student, and used to advise young people never to be without a book in their pocket, to be read at bye-times, when they had nothing else to do. "It has been by that means," said he to a boy at our house one day, "that all my knowledge has been gained, except what I have picked up by running about the world with my wits ready to observe, and my tongue ready to talk."
- Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs. Henry Thrale)
No man can read with profit that which he cannot learn to read with pleasure.
- Noah Porter
I read hard, or not at all; never skimming, never turning aside to merely inciting books; and Plato, Aristotle, Butler, Thucydides, Sterne, Jonathan Edwards, have passed like the iron atoms of the blood into my mental constitution.
- Frederick William Robertson
A man who attempts to read all the new productions must do as the flea does,--skip.
- Samuel Rogers
Nothing is more painful to me than the disdain with which people treat second-rate authors, as if there were room only for the first-raters.
- Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve,
in Hans Zinsser's "As I Remember Him," p. 8
Reading is thinking with someone else's head instead of one's own.
- Arthur Schopenhauer
To put away one's original thoughts in order to take up a book is the sin against the Holy Ghost.
- Arthur Schopenhauer,
in Wallas' "The Art of Thought"
And better had they ne'er been born,
Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.
- Sir Walter Scott, The Monastery (ch. XII)
Reading nourisheth the wit; and when it is wearied with study, it refresheth it, yet not without study.
- Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
He is a worthy gentleman, exceedingly well read and profited in strange concealments.
- William Shakespeare
How well he is read, to reason against reading!
- William Shakespeare
Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book.
He hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink.
His intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts.
- William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost
(Nathaniel at IV, ii)
Read Homer once, and you can read no more,
For all books else appear so mean, so poor,
Verse will seem prose; but still persist to read,
And Homer will be all the books you need.
- John Sheffield, 3rd Earl of Mulgrave, Duke of Buckingham and Normanby,
An Essay on Poetry (l. 323)
It is manifest that all government of action is to be gotten by knowledge, and knowledge best, by gathering many knowledges, which is reading.
- Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)
We should accustom the mind to keep the best company by introducing it only to the best books.
- Sydney Smith
Much reading is like much eating,--wholly useless without digestion.
- Bishop Robert South
What blockheads are those wise persons who think it necessary that a child should comprehend everything it reads!
- Robert Southey
The mind should be accustomed to make wise reflections, and draw curious conclusions as it goes along; the habitude of which made Pliny the Younger affirm that he never read book so bad but he drew some profit from it.
- Laurence Sterne
Nothing, in truth, has such a tendency to weaken not only the powers of invention, but the intellectual powers in general, as a habit of extensive and various reading without reflection.
- Mrs. Dugald Stewart
Given the books of a man, it is not difficult, I think, to detect therein the personality of the man, and the station in life to which he was born.
- Richard Henry Stoddard
When I am reading a book, whether wise or silly, it seems to me to be alive and talking to me.
- Jonathan Swift
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