Today’s quotes come from the 2 other books about books and reading I found at the library: Adventures in Reading by May Lamberton Becker and The Delights of Reading by Otto L. Bettmann; the latter being a book of quotes compiled for The Center of the Book in the Library of Congress. Though it is full of quotes, there were only 2 that stood out from all the rest. The first one brought a smile to my face; the second made me think for a good long while:
“Build yourself a book-nest to forget the world without” – Abraham Cowley
“Where books are burned, human beings will in the end be burned too” – Heinrich Heine
My first thoughts were of the Nazis. I then turned my thoughts to the author of the quote, who was a German Romantic. The Romantics often saw themselves as being prophetic, and though I’m sure this quote was inspired from the world and times in which he lived (especially considering how much of his work was banned in Germany, and having lived out the last years of his life in Paris), I couldn’t help but imagine what his reaction would’ve been if he had been living during the beginning of his country’s darkest years, and see him writing this very quote in response. Also interesting to note, is that the Nazis hated Heine, and so his books were more than likely banned and burned yet again. I don’t know about you, but that, and the fact that a Neo-Nazi is sitting on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, inspires me to read everything Heine ever wrote.
On to lighter subjects….
I loved Adventures in Reading for many reasons, but mostly for the following quote that I can most relate to:
“One day when it was raining heavily…I turned into a great public library to read…and it was not until…the last page that I lifted my eyes…and found that in the meantime the chairs near by had been taken by a dozen or more readers who had come in – and gone out again.”
This is the opening of her chapter on Romance, Adventure, and Fantasy books, and though she was writing specifically about a play, I know that feeling very well of getting so lost in a book that reality disappears until “The End”. Even more so, I’ve had this experience during rainy days in the library. I’m fairly certain “rainy day spent in the library” is my favorite day; the second being “rainy day spent in the bookstore’s cafe”.
In a later chapter, she goes on to speak about leaving good books out for children to discover and read on their own. What I liked about it the most was her equating good books with cookie jars:
“You do not force cookies on healthy children, but you leave them where they can be reached in an emergency.”
Then, her chapter on travel books opens with:
“There are two reasons for reading travel books: because you expect to travel, and because you don’t.”
I believe my love of travel books stems from my love of The Hobbit, and I place it right below my love of Adventure and Fantasy books. Perhaps that’s why I love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon so much; It contains a bit of everything: travel, adventure, fantasy, romance, and history.
Hmmmm…..It’s supposed to rain again today, so maybe I’ll grab a good travel book, go to the bookstore’s cafe and get myself a cookie 🙂