March 13, 2010

The Delights of Reading

The Delights of Reading: Quotes, Notes & Anecdotes by Otto L. Bettmann
Nonfiction - Literary Reference
1987 David R. Godine Publisher
Finished on 2/11/10
Rating: 3/5 (So-So)

Product Description:

From the writings of the great, the near-great, and the would-be-great, a delicious selection of quotes and anecdotes on that most dangerous afflictions—the passion for books and reading.

I've had this on my shelf for quite a few years. I don't remember where I got it, so it may be a book I actually bought for my husband. I finally read through the entire compilation (over the course of several months) and discovered a few quotes to put in a journal in which I keep reading quotes. Since there aren't too many, I'll share them with you here.

Reading—the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay.
~ William Styron

If the reader finds pleasure... let him continue; if not, let him throw the book away. The only criterion in the end is pleasure; all the other arguments are worthless.
~ Claude Simon

Oh! For a book, and a cosy nook
And oh! for a quiet hour,
When care and strife and worry of life,
Have lost their dreaded power,
When you read with zest the very best
That mind to mind can give,
And quaff your joy without allow,
And feel it is good to live.

Books relieve me from idleness, rescue me from company, blunt the edge of my grief. They are the comfort and solitude of my old age.
~ Michel de Montaigne

This nice and subtle happiness of reading, this joy not chilled by age, this polite and unpunished vice, this selfish, serene life-long intoxication.
~ Logan Pearsall Smith

A book reads the better, which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins.
~ Charles Lamb

No furniture is so charming as books... Even if you never open them, or read a single word; the plainest row of cloth or paper covered books is more significant of refinement than the most elaborately carved etagere or sideboard.
~ Sydney Smith

Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired (by passionate devotion to them) produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can peradventure read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity... we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access, reassurance.
~ A. E. Newton

and my two favorites:

I cannot imagine a pleasanter old age than one spent in the not too remote country where I could reread and annotate my favorite books.
~ Andre Maurois

I cannot think of a greater blessing than to die in one's own bed, without warning or discomfort, on the last page of the new book that we most wanted to read.
~ John Russell


  1. Anonymous1:01 PM

    Those are lovely, Les. You know how I feel about quote regarding book and reading. I like the one about reading keeping lonliness at bay. Also the one about finding pleasure and if not, throw the book away. :-)

  2. Those are great quotes and the book itself sounds intriguing as one to maybe browse through.

  3. Kay - Yes, I know how much you like book quotes. Glad you enjoyed these. :)

    Kim - It was nice to find some gems in the collection.

  4. Okay, I'm going to have that quote by Claude Simon tattooed on my forehead (well, maybe not, but it's exactly how I feel about most books most of the time). :)

  5. Janet - I agree!! About the quote - not the tattoo. ;)


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