Quotes of Note

“For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.  Let him be struch with palsy, and all his members blasted.  Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to this agony till he sing in dissolution.  Let bookworms gnaw his entrails . . . and when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him forever.” – Anonymous curse on book thieves from the monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona, Spain

“Never lend books–nobody ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are those which people have lent me.” – Anatole France

“The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer (like the cover of an old book its contents torn out, and stript of its lettering and gilding) lies food for worms: yet the work itself shall not be lost for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition corrected and amended by the Author.” – In 1729 Benjamin Franklin proposed the above epitaph for his tombstone, but it was not used.

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” – Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges who was appointed director of the National Public Library in Argentina the year he went blind (1955).  He never learned to use Braille to read.

“We don’t exist unless there is someone who can see us existing, what we say has no meaning until someone can understand, while to be surrounded by friends is constantly to have our identity confirmed; their knowledge and care for us have the power to pull us from our numbness.  In small comments, many of them teasing, they reveal they know our foibles and accept them and so, in turn, accept that we have a place in the world.  We can ask them ‘Isn’t he frightening?’ or ‘Do you ever feel that . . .?’ and be understood, rather than encounter the puzzled ‘No, not particularly’ – which can make us feel, even when in company, as lonely as a polar explorer. . . True friends do not evaluate us according to worldly criteria, it is the core self they are interested in; like ideal parents, their love for us remains unaffected by our appearance or position in the social hierarchy, and so we have no qualms in dressing in old clothes and revealing that we made little money this year.” – Alain de Botton in The Consolations of Philosophy

“There are a lot of books out there that there is no particular reason on Earth why money should have been spent on them. They have contributed absolutely nothing to our culture, to the publishing world, and are not that enjoyable to read.” – From an interview with Barbara Meade former co-owner of Politics and Prose book store in Washington D.C.

“It was not long ago that I learned of another Nixon tape, on which the president can be heard saying to [H. R.] Haldeman, ‘Cavett–How can we screw him?’  A little disconcerting to hear yourself thus discussed by the leader of the allegedly free world. . . It was not long thereafter that my entire staff was tax audited, all but ruinously for some of them.  Nixon enjoyed using the IRS–illegally, of course–to punish those his paranoia perceived as enemies.” – Dick Cavett in his book Talk Show

“Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’  Which of us was right, boss?” – Zorba in Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

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