In Praise of Books
With suggestions form influential thinkers and authors, IN PRAISE OF BOOKS can help those who are developing a personal library or reading list. Ralph Waldo Emerson contributed an Atlantic Monthly essay to this volume, in which he recommended his favorite writers and texts. He named Homer, Shakespeare, Herodotus, Dante, Spenser, Bacon, Dickens, and Thackeray as among his most cherished authors. He also listed his three criteria for selecting a book: never read a book that is less than a year old, always read well-known books, and always read topics that one enjoys. Sir John Lubbock also shared his love of books -- "How thankful we ought to be for these inestimable blessings, for this numberless host of friends who never weary, betray, or forsake us!" he wrote -- before recommending the works of Confucius, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Darwin, Goethe, Eliot, and many more. Also included are quotes about reading and books from Socrates ("Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings; so you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for"), Niccolo Machiavelli ("I forget every vexation" when reading), Alexander Pope ("At this day, as much company as I have kept, and as much as I love it, I love reading better"), Henry Fielding ("We are as liable to be corrupted by books as by companions"), David Hume (" I was seized very early with a passion for literature, which as been the ruling passion of my life"), and other avid readers.
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Page 75 - No matter how poor I am ; no matter though the prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling. If the sacred writers will enter and take...
Page 43 - I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me through life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading.
Page 72 - I own that I am disposed to say grace upon twenty other occasions in the course of the day besides my dinner. I want a form for setting out upon a pleasant walk, for a moonlight ramble, for a friendly meeting, or a solved problem. Why have we none for books, those spiritual repasts a grace before Milton a grace before Shakespeare a devotional exercise proper to be said before reading the "Fairy Queen?
Page 32 - MY days among the Dead are past ; Around me I behold, Where'er these casual eyes are cast, The mighty minds of old: My never-failing friends are they, With whom I converse day by day.
Page 41 - But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think...
Page 71 - Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know, Are a substantial world, both pure and good: Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood, Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
Page 71 - Blessings be with them and eternal praise, Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays ! Oh ! might my name be numbered among theirs, Then gladly would I end my mortal days.