Quotes of Note

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.” – Jane Austen

“But this I know; the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master—something that at times strangely wills and works for itself. He may lay down rules and devise principles, and to rules and principles it will perhaps for years lie in subjection; and then, haply without any warning of revolt, there comes a time when it will no longer consent.” – Charlotte Brontë

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.” – Emily Dickinson

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter ― it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain

“Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.” – Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” –  Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Readers have to live with a novel for days or even weeks.  It projects them into another world, parallel to but apart from their ordinary lives.  They know perfectly well that this fictional realm is not “real” and yet while they are reading it becomes compelling.  A powerful novel becomes part of the backdrop of our lives long after we have laid the book aside.  It is an exercise of make-believe that, like yoga or a religious festival, breaks down barriers of space and time and extends our sympathies, so that we are able to empathize with other lives and sorrows.  It teaches compassion, the ability to ‘feel with’ others.  And, like mythology, an important novel is transformative.  If we allow it to do so, it can change us forever.” – Karen Armstrong in A Short History of Myth

“Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

“You may have tangible wealth untold; / caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. / Richer than I you can never be. / I had a mother who read to me.” – Poet and Humorist Strickland Gillian, The Reading Mother

“As a rule of thumb what defines the bestseller is bestselling.  Nothing else.” – John Sutherland, English scholar who has studied the bestseller phenomenon

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges

“God has given us many faiths but only one world in which to co-exist. May your work help all of us to cherish our commonalities and feel enlarged by our differences.” – Jonathan Sacks

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