And I cannot lie!
If you read to the end of my emails to our lists, you might have seen the quotes I have included below my signature:
Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book. – E.B. White
That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet. – Jhumpa Lahiri
A room without books is like a body without a soul. — Marcus Tullius Cicero
Don’t you just love a succinct, brief line that encapsulates your thoughts perfectly? Bonus points if it’s funny! Some remarks are so accurate, as one from an author of books about many, many lives, George R. R. Martin, said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” Some are words to truly live by:
Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. – Lemony Snicket
For me, it all goes back to the 8th grade, when I was given a paperback copy of The Left Handed Dictionary by Leonard Louis Levinson. Our middle school’s vice principal gave it to me when he was cleaning things out before summer break. I don’t know if he knew what he was doing by giving me this slim volume of bon mots.
The cover notes that The Left Handed Dictionary is “5,000 definitions that once tripped gaily off the slightly forked tongues of Fred Allen, Russell Baker, H. L. Mencken, Dorothy Parker, E. B. White, and others, not to mention L.L.L. himself.” Looking through it, you’ll find it’s a book of quotations unusually organized in dictionary style, with the subject of the quote being the defined word. So rather than quoting Gary Belkin saying “A book is a tool for sharpening the brain,” it’s laid out on the page as such:
CW: This little paperback is in no way comprehensive, and the notables being quoted are a small slice of the WASPy literary world that made Chautauqua all the rave. Note that it was published in 1963, so there are plenty of instances of dated language and ideas that we have all hopefully grown past. (Psst L.L.L.: We are “women,” not “girls.”) I tried to be careful in the examples I’ve included, but I know there will be some stinkers among the gems.
A Few Select Pages
Send Us Your Favorite Quotes
Do you have some pithy saying about reading decorating a t-shirt, plaque, or mug? Who is your favorite author you love to quote? Please share your favorite quotes about reading, books, libraries, or bookstores in the comments. Don’t forget to tell us who said what!