home | blog | site map | reviews | bookstore traveler | book awards     24books.org

freak Pick a flavor of "quotes"

                     book author quotes                   book author quotes - grouped by topics
book bookseller quotes                 
the press                
book The Joy and Enthusiasm of Reading by Rick Moody



blue book author quotes — yes, it's alphabetical by author, it comes from all my years of shelving books


book "There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
          — Douglas Adams


book "You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket."
          — John Adams


book "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale."
          — Hans Christian Anderson


book "When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young."   

           — Maya Angelou


book "Writing is my only interest. Even speaking is an interruption."
          — Isaac Asimov
(author of 500 books)


book "When people say publishing is a business--actually it's not quite a business. It's part gambling and part arts and crafts, with a business component. It's not like any other business, and that's why when standard businessmen go into publishing and think, 'Right, I'm going to clean this up, rationalize it and make it work like a real business,' two years later you find they're bald because they've torn out all their hair. And then you say to them, 'It's not like selling beer. It's not like selling a case of this and a case of that and doing a campaign that works for all of the beer.' You're selling one book--not even one author any more. Those days are gone, when you sold, let's say, 'Graham Greene' almost like a brand. You're selling one book, and each copy of that book has to be bought by one reader and each reading of that book is by one unique individual. It's very specific."                                               
          — Margaret Atwood


book "It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous."
          — Robert Benchley


book "But it's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers."
          — Judy Blume


book "I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."
          — Jorge Luis Borges


book "I come from a house filled with books. I had very good English teachers in high school. I was something of a reading prodigy when I was a little kid. When I was in kindergarten, I stole my parents' copy of Why Johnny Can't Read. It angered me that they would have such a book, and I read the whole thing. I was reading way ahead of my grade level for all of grammar school and beyond. I read very quickly. I read a lot. I read widely. It is a pleasure for me, a passion."
          — Anthony Bourdain
in an interview with the Los Angeles Times


book quotes from Ray Bradbury:

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

"You must live life at the top of your voice! At the top of your lungs shout and listen to the echoes."

"Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember."

"I'm not afraid of machines. I don't think the robots are taking over. I think the men who play with toys have taken over. And if we don't take the toys out of their hands, we're fools."

"I sometimes get up at night when I can't sleep and walk down into my library and open one of my books and read a paragraph and say, 'My God, did I write that?'"

"I don't need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me."

"I don't believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously."

"There is no future for e-books, because they are not books. E-books smell like burned fuel."


book "I am by trade a novelist. It is, I think, a harmless trade, though it is not everywhere considered a respectable one. Novelists put dirty language into the mouths of their characters, and they show these characters fornicating or going to the toilet. Moreover, it is not a useful trade, as is that of the carpenter or the pastry cook. The novelist passes the time for you between one useful action and another; he helps to fill the gaps that appear in the serious fabric of living. He is a mere entertainer, a sort of clown. He mimes, he makes grotesque gestures, he is pathetic or comic and sometimes both, he sends words spinning through the air like colored balls."
          — Anthony Burgess


book "When in doubt have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."
          — Raymond Chandler


book "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
          — Noam Chomsky


book Reading Experience 'Shattered by the Presence of a Mob'
"I'm reading a new book I downloaded on my Kindle and I noticed an underlined passage. It is surely a mistake, I think. This is a new book. I don't know about you, but I always hated underlined passages in used books.... And then I discovered that the horror doesn't stop with the unwelcomed presence of another reader who's defaced my new book. But it deepens with something called view popular highlights, which will tell you how many morons have underlined before so that not only you do not own the new book you paid for, the entire experience of reading is shattered by the presence of a mob that agitates inside your text like strangers in a train station."

"So now you can add to the ease of downloading an e-book the end of the illusion that it is your book. The end of the privileged relation between yourself and your book. And a certainty that you've been had. Not only is the e-book not yours to be with alone, it is shared at Amazon which shares with you what it knows about you reading and the readings of others. And lets you know that you are what you underline, which is only a number in a mass of popular views.... Conformism does come of age in the most private of peaceful activities--reading a book, one of the last solitary pleasures in a world full of prompts to behave. My Kindle, sugar-coated cyanide."
          — Andrei Codrescu


book "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."
          — William O. Douglas


book "One sacred memory from childhood is perhaps the best education."
          — Dostoyevsky

book "The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy."   

          — Gustave Flaubert

book "My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, and a little whiskey."
          — William Faulkner


book "That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."   

          — F. Scott Fitzgerald


book "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
          — Benjamin Franklin


book "Nonsense wakes up the brain cells."
          — Dr. Seuss


book I think the diversity of ideas, religions, and opinions in this country is our glory, is the strength of the U.S. And I think that's why independent bookstores, which are the sanctuaries of that diversity of opinion, are just so important. They are our intellectual watering holes.    
          — Amy Goodman


book "A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to."
          — Granville Hicks


book "The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts."
          — Oliver Wendell Holmes


book "There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you."
          — Zora Neale Hurston


book "What is written without effort, is in general read without pleasure."
          — Samuel Johnson

book "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?"   

          — Franz Kafka    

book A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye. "To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon's entertainment. Feel no shyness or compunction in taking it. Bookshops exist to provide it; and the booksellers welcome it, knowing how it will end."
          — Economist John Maynard Keynes
, as quoted in a Canberra Times


book "As I've often said, you can shop online and find whatever you're looking for, but bookstores are where you find what you weren't looking for."
          — Paul Krugman


book "I never know when I sit down, just what I am going to write. I make no plan; it just comes, and I don't know where it comes from."
          — D.H. Lawrence


book "I think of bookstore jobs as my university. The physical trade of books was a hallowed way to become a writer in the pre-MFA era. It was the only work I wanted to do, and the only work I was qualified to do.... With bookstores, you go in and you find the things you weren't looking for. The clerk is doing that 24/7--my reading was shaped by what was left behind. And you develop a loathing for the false canon--the two books each year that everybody is supposed to read.... You can't hang onto those sacred quarantines when you see the mad diversity around you."
            — Jonathan Lethem
, recalling being a bookseller (Moe's Books) for a Salon article on the vanishing bricks-and-mortar shop clerk


book "Censorship, like charity should begin at home, but unlike charity, it should end there."
          — Clare Boothe Luce


book "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
          — Gabriel Garcia Márquez's opening sentence from A Hundred Years of Solitude:


book "I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing it."
          — Cormac McCarthy

book "Perhaps the greatest reading pleasure has an element of self-annihilation. To be so engrossed that you barely know you exist."   

          — Ian McEwan   

book "We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."   

          — Henry Miller    

book "A reader once confessed to her, "Miss Moore, your poetry is very difficult to read." — to which Moore replied, "It is very difficult to write."
          — Marianne Moore

book "I read to lose myself and find myself at the same time."   

          — Imani Mosley 

book "If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."   

          — Haruki Murakami  

book "Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations."   

          — Vladimir Nabokov

book "Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting one at the end of a long day makes the day happier."
          — Kathleen Norris

book "Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul."   

          — Joyce Carol Oates  

book "Good prose is like a window pane."
          — George Orwell


book "No one, at any rate no English writer has written better about childhood than Dickens."  (on Dickens)
          — George Orwell


book "There's nothing that lifts the spirits of this author like a good local, independent bookshop. Through all the recent ups and downs of bookselling, the best of the independents have shown the way forward, championing that personal connection between shops, readers and authors that is the life blood of the trade." 
          — Michael Palin, author and Monty Python legend

book "There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book."    

          — Marcel Proust

book "Some say life is the thing, but I prefer reading."
          — Ruth Rendell


book "We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can."
          — Will Rogers

book "I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."   

          — J.K. Rowling   

book I have met thousands of children now, and not even one time has a child come up to me and said,
'Ms. Rowling, I'm so glad I've read these books because now I want to be a witch."
          — J.K. Rowling


book "What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."
          — Ahmed Salman Rushdie


book "As I see it, the problem with Amazon stems from the fact that though it started out as a bookseller, it isn't anymore, not really. It sells everything now, and it sells it all aggressively. Maybe Amazon doesn't care about the larger bookselling universe because it's simply too big to care. In a way it's become, like the John Candy character (minus the eager, slobbering benevolence) in Mel Brooks's movie Spaceballs--half man, half dog and thus its own best friend."
author Richard Russo in a New York Times op-ed piece headlined "Amazon’s Jungle Logic"


book Richard Russo on booksellers
“We no longer have Borders, Barnes & Noble is hanging by a thread. We’ve lost an enormous number of independent bookstores. The Amazon threat is real,” said Russo, who proceeded to tell a story about Amazon’s power that he said “is not going to cheer anybody in this room.” He and his artist daughter, Kate, just published a collection of stories, Intervention, which they wanted to make as local as possible. The book was made of sustainable materials, printed in the U.S., and published by their local press, Down East. To promote it, Russo and his daughter drove around New England. They weren’t anticipating huge sales and were surprised when they researched how the book was doing on Amazon. On one Saturday it went from 200,000 to 1,299 in ranking. “It was the kind of jump you only get by getting on The Today Show, Stephen Colbert, or getting a front-page review in the New York Times,” he said. Or, in this case, when Amazon sends an e-mail to every person on its mailing list who ever bought a book by Russo.

Russo doesn’t like to hear his writer friends tell him blithely that independent bookstores will be fine, we don’t have to worry. “I don’t want independent bookstores to survive. I want them to thrive,” he said. Part of that is dependent on the publishing ecosystem, which Russo accuses of having no spine in the face of $9.99 e-books. “I found it astonishing when they acquiesced, when publishers would sell brand-new novels for $9.99. It was like allowing Netflix to stream The Avengers on the weekend that the movie came out,” he said. “Book publishers have been timid. What they need to do more than anything else is to find a spine. Like most bullies, Amazon will back down. You have to stand up.”

Afterwards, Russo worried about Amazon taking off his buy buttons. Although he has a memoir, Elsewhere, coming out this fall and is finishing a novella and working on a sequel to Nobody’s Fool, he is also doing more screenwriting. “When Amazon gets ready to take the buy buttons off my books,” he said. “I better have a second profession.”


book "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours."
          — J.D. Salinger

book" A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful."   

          — Maurice Sendak

book “I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf,” she said. “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.”
          — Patti Smith at the National Book Awards - Yes, where her book, Just Kids, won the Nonfiction prize for 2010.

book" The books I loved in childhood - the first loves - I’ve read so often that I’ve internalized them in some really essential way: they are more inside me now than out."   

          — Donna Tartt    

book "The poet skims off the best of life and puts it in his work."
          — Leo Tolstoy


book As the debate about agency pricing continues, Scott Turoww, president of the Authors Guild, called the Justice Department probe of Apple and five publishers "grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture," adding that ironically "our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition.", president of the Authors Guild, called the Justice Department probe of Apple and five publishers "grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture," adding that ironically "our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition."
   Among his arguments for the agency model for e-books is that it helps maintain bookstores: "Our concern about bookstores isn't rooted in sentiment: bookstores are critical to modern bookselling. Marketing studies consistently show that readers are far more adventurous in their choice of books when in a bookstore than when shopping online. In bookstores, readers are open to trying new genres and new authors: it's by far the best way for new works to be discovered. Publishing shouldn't have to choose between bricks and clicks. A robust book marketplace demands both bookstore showrooms to properly display new titles and online distribution for the convenience of customers. Apple thrives on this very model: a strong retail presence to display its high-touch products coupled with vigorous online distribution. While bookstores close, Apple has been busy opening more than 300 stores."
   Moreover, a world dominated by Amazon will be harder for lesser-known authors, Turow wrote. "The high royalties of direct publishing, for most, are more than offset by drastically smaller markets. And publishers won't risk capital where there's no reasonable prospect for reward. They will necessarily focus their capital on what works in an online environment: familiar works by familiar authors."

           — Scott Turow


book "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
          — Mark Twain

book "I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle."   

          — Kurt Vonnegut     

book "I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
          — Eudora Welty


book  ''I just did a 10-city tour of the States and the big shops have been closing, just as they have in Australia, and yet over and over, small booksellers kept saying to me, 'we're doing better.' I'm wondering if the problem has not been in the retail or the independent niche bookstores, but in fact the big leviathans in the middle that have just been sucking up everything the way whales suck up plankton... they were never interested in books anyway. This may be a renaissance for the independents.''
          — Jeanette Winterson

book "Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it.    "

          — Jeanette Winterson


blue book author quotes, grouped on different topics - writers speaking out against ebooks & more


"I hate them. It's like making believe there's another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of sex. There isn't another kind of book! A book is a book is a book."
Maurice Sendak


"Anything longer than a letter or a poem is tiresome for me to read on the screen. I read fast, carelessly, superficially on the screen, and don't enjoy it... I'll read what I can on paper, and make do with text on screen only if I have to."

          Ursula Le Guin


"Jeff Bezos has been quoted as saying "he wants to change the way people read." I don't know what he means... But 75-95% of music is pirated... I'd be really worried if I was a writer of bestsellers and all my books were digitized, how easy it will be for their books to be pirated."

          Sherman Alexie


"It seems to me that anyone whose library consists of a Kindle lying on a table is some sort of bloodless nerd."

          Penelope Lively


"Those aren't books. You can't hold a computer in your hand like you can a book. A computer does not smell. There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. A book has got to smell. You have to hold it in your hands and pray to it. You put it in your pocket and you walk with it. And it stays with you forever. But the computer doesn't do that for you."

          Ray Bradbury


"You can't burn a Kindle."

          Stephen Colbert



blue book bookseller quotes


book The tension between Amazon and book publishers continues. Speaking with Shelf Awareness yesterday, one major (unnamed) publisher described dealing with Amazon as "the single biggest challenge we in the industry have. Making the transition to digital is not as big a challenge as selling to Amazon."


book "I'm not an economic priest. My bookstore is not a confessional. I'm tired of handing out 'Hail Locals' to guilt-riddled shoppers. If you bought a Kindle as your sole reading device, you have cut out your local bookstore when there are options for e-readers that don’t eliminate indies. It's your choice, but don't come whining to me that you really want to shop local, but you have to be 'smart about your money.' I agree, you should be smart about your money. You should know that local businesses hand out thousands of dollars worth of donations and items to schools, organizations, and clubs throughout your community every year. Maybe shopping local isn't a priority for you. Fine. Talk to Amazon about donating a silent auction item for your son's school trip to D.C. and ask for a discount on books purchased for your school district. I’m sure Wal-Mart would sell your dance recital tickets or put a bucket on the counter for summer camp applications. Maybe Costco will supply the food for a fund-raiser, but I doubt it."
          — Mara Lynn Luther
of Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, Montana—in her blog post from the May 6, 2011 issue


book "There is a growing distinction between the book reader and the book owner. The book reader just wants the experience of reading the book, and that person is a natural digital consumer: Instead of a disposable mass market book, they buy a digital book. The book owner wants to give, share and shelve books. They love the experience. As we add value to the physical product, particularly the trade paperback and hardcover, the consumer will pay a little more for the better experience."
          — John Makinson
, CEO of Penguin Group (I just keep thinking about these words and how true they are. -


book "One thing that we all observed was how often customers told us they were choosing to shop with us to support an independent bookstore and local business. While we often receive comments like these, the staff was struck by their frequency and the apparent conviction behind them...."


"It is clear that the rumors of the demise of independent bookstores have been greatly exaggerated. Entrepreneurs continue to enter the industry, reimagining how the printed word is distributed to passionate readers. It has been an exciting year, but we promise you that the coming year will be even more exciting."
            — Jeff Mayersohn,
owner of the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass.


book "Good books don't go out of style. Browsing a well-curated shop for books is a joy," owner Joseph "Jos" Niforos of the newly opened Kosmos Book Shop in Tarrytown, NY, told the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow Patch, adding that he decided to open the bookshop to "provide a place where people can come physically browse books. I still believe it's the best way, the most humane way to buy a book.... That it's real not virtual! There will be a real person in it that can hopefully be of service to the customer, turn them on to new things or just chat for a while."


"What accounts for an upsurge in confidence among independent booksellers? In part, it's because of an increase in sales in many of these stores within the last quarter.... But another big reason for optimism is the influx of new stores and new owners into the business, bringing a spark of energy and new ideas. While we still cringe as older stores close their doors, many have taken heart from the talented and determined bunch of booksellers that are now coming into the business.... What these new booksellers see is that in a world awash with unfiltered data and anonymous opinions, readers have an increasing need for a face-to-face, honest relationship with a knowledgeable bookseller who might actually know who they are and what they like to read."                   
Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA



blue book the press


book "You are no more likely to discover a book buried in the stacks of a bookstore than you are to find it perusing Amazon's webpages. But you are more likely to discover something different, because there is a unique group of people reading, selecting, and promoting titles at each store.... It's not about whether one store makes better choices than another in regard to what it stocks and displays on its shelves; it's about the variety of choices. ... In almost all other industries, we value experts and their opinions, and often reward their experience monetarily.... It is alarming that we don't place that same value on professionals working in the book business... Anyone who claims to value literary culture should be advocating for more: more books, more readers, more access, more services, more exposure, more formats. More choices."
          — The Christian Science Monitor's Chapter & Verse blog explains "Why America Needs Its Indies"


book "You think the owner of that book store doesn't know what you're doing? Oh, they know exactly what you're doing. You say you 'love' books? You say you enjoy perusing the soothing aisles of a book store, so lovingly curated by a book store owner who spends his or her life ensuring that the very latest and most interesting book selections are there, presented for you in the most interesting possible way? You like that a lot? Yeah. So you can go home and order that shit online.... Book stores do not exist just to show off book covers so you know what you want to order from Amazon! You ungrateful bastards!"
              — Hamilton Nolan
, on gawker.com



blue book The Joy and Enthusiasm of Reading by Rick Moody 


   I believe in the absolute and unlimited liberty of reading. I believe in wandering through the stacks and picking out the first thing that strikes me. I believe in choosing books based on the dust jacket. I believe in reading books because others dislike them or find them dangerous. I believe in choosing the hardest book imaginable. I believe in reading up on what others have to say about this difficult book, and then making up my own mind.

   Part of this has to do with Mr. Buxton, who taught me Shakespeare in 10th grade. We were reading Macbeth. Mr. Buxton, who probably had better things to do, nonetheless agreed to meet one night to go over the text line by line. The first thing he did was point out the repetition of motifs. For example, the reversals of things ("fair is foul and foul is fair"). Then there was the unsexing of Lady Macbeth and the association in the play of masculinity with violence.

   What Mr. Buxton didn't tell me was what the play meant. He left the conclusions to me. The situation was much the same with my religious studies teacher in 11th grade, Mr. Flanders, who encouraged me to have my own relationship with the Gospels, and perhaps he quoted Jesus of Nazareth in the process. "Therefore speak I to them in parables: Because they seeing, see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

   High school was followed by college, where I read Umberto Eco's Role of the Reader, in which it is said that the reader completes the text, that the text is never finished until it meets this voracious and engaged reader. The open texts, Eco calls them. In college, I read some of the great Europeans and Latin Americans: Borges and Kafka, Genet and Beckett, Artaud, Proust -- open texts all. I may not have known why Kafka's Metamorphosis is about a guy who turns into a bug, but I knew that some said cockroach, and others, European dung beetle.

   There are those critics, of course, who insist that there are right ways and wrong ways to read every book. No doubt they arrived at these beliefs through their own adventures in the stacks. And these are important questions for philosophers of every stripe. And yet I know only what joy and enthusiasm about reading have taught me, in bookstores new and used.

   I believe there is not now and never will be an authority who can tell me how to interpret, how to read, how to find the pearl of literary meaning in all cases. Nietzsche says, "Supposing truth is a woman – what then?" Supposing the truth is not hard, fast, masculine, simple, direct? You could spend a lifetime thinking about this sentence, and making it your own. In just this way, I believe in the freedom to see literature, history, truth, unfolding ahead of me like a book whose spine has just now been cracked.



Rick Moody is a writer of short stories and novels,
many of which explore disintegrating family bonds in suburban America.
He lives on Long Island and co-founded the Young Lions Book Award at the New York Public Library.



home | blog | site map | reviews | bookstore travelers | book awards | to the top