Quotes of Note

“Mine has been a happy marriage—thanks mainly to my wife. Who would want to live with a novelist? A man underfoot in the house all day? A man, moreover, subject to solitary funks and strange elations. If I were a woman, I’d prefer a traveling salesman.” – Walker Percy in a Paris Review Interview

“I have been an ardent, constant reader since the day I was old enough to read, but I do not consider myself a literary person—first and foremost I am a journalist—and I am not ashamed to find merit in books—Rebecca, for example, or Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House, or The Long Season—such as the literati scorn. Above all else I love and value the art of storytelling, now sneered at in certain quarters; I especially admire it as practiced by masters as diverse as Elizabeth Bowen, Margaret Leech, and Peter Taylor. I cherish many difficult but rewarding writers—hence William Faulkner and García Márquez—but have absolutely no taste for mere wordplay or literary games; I like puzzles in crosswords but not in novels. I savor the irony that Ulysses, the sine qua non of the literati but a book I simply cannot read, was admitted to these United States by my great uncle, Federal District Judge John Woolsey. Had there been room for James Joyce in Second Reading, it would have been for Dubliners, not for Ulysses or, God knows, Finnegans Wake.” – Retired Washington Post book reviewer Jonathan Yardley in Second Reading

“I’m in the entertainment business. My function in life for the most part is to take people out of their lives and put them somewhere else.” – Tom Clancy

“The purpose of life is not to be happy—but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.” – Leo Rosten

“There is no truth. There is only perception” – Gustave Flaubert

“Considering yourself a serious reader doesn’t mean you can’t read light books. Loving to read means you sometimes like to turn your head off. Reading is not about being able to recite passages of Camus from memory. Loving young adult novels well past adolescence isn’t a sign of stunted maturity or intelligence. The most important thing about reading is not the level of sophistication of the books on your shelf. There is no prerequisite reading regimen for being a bookworm.” – Lauren Leto, Judging a Book by Its Lover

“But now that I own a bookstore, I no longer need to rely so heavily on my immediate circle to ensure that people are reading the books I love. At Parnassus, there is a constant river of people flowing past the new fiction releases, past U.S. history and down toward the children’s section, and many have no idea what they want to read. They’ll walk right up to me and say, ‘I’m looking for a book.’ I wait for a minute, thinking surely there’s going to be more to that sentence — ‘I’m looking for a book I heard about on the radio’ or ‘I’m looking for a book like “The Goldfinch” ’ — but often there is nothing else. They just smile up at me, trusting and curious, waiting to follow my instructions.” – Ann Patchett from a Washington Post article about owning a bookstore

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than his own soul.” – Marcus Aurelius

“To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.” – Aldous Huxley

“I just got a rather nasty shock. In looking for something or other I came across the fact that one of my cats is about to be nine years old, and that another of them will shortly thereafter be eight; I have been labouring under the delusion they were about five and six. And yesterday I happened to notice in the mirror that while I have long since grown used to my beard being very grey indeed, I was not prepared to discover that my eyebrows are becoming noticeably shaggy. I feel the tomb is just around the corner. And there are all these books I haven’t read yet, even if I am simultaneously reading at least twenty. . .” – Author/Illustrator Edward Gorey


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