Writers are some of the most voracious readers in the world. That is because to love writing, you must first love to read. (I am sure someone else has said something similar. If not, feel free to quote me on that when I am a famous writer a.k.a. dead.) Writers also have a lot to say, so there is great deal of quotes from writers on reading. The following quotes are my favorites. (Too bad. If you were writing this, you could add your favorites, but you are not, so you are stuck with mine.) I have added why they are my favorites and what I think of them as well. Yes, it is my sole aim to bore you to death. If you have not been bored to death, feel free to leave what you think of these quotes in the comments section.
"Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." ~ Voltaire
I love this quote because I love to read and I love to dance. Of course, I only do the latter when no one is around. Believe me; it is best if the world is not subjected to what I think of as dancing. As for the second part of Voltaire's quote, I have to agree with him. Barring any future calamity that somehow causes reading and dancing to be world-altering events, both are pretty harmless in the great scheme of things.
"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." ~ Mark Twain
This is probably the wisest quote you will see in this article. It goes without saying that one who does not use an ability is on equal footing with those who do not possess the ability. Either could better themselves by using or developing the ability, so they are of equal potential as well.
"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." ~ Harper Lee
I have to admit that what I love most about this quote is that it comes from Harper Lee. I love that woman. The quote itself is something to which I cannot relate. I love to read, whether I feel I may lose "it" or not. I do relate to the idea that reading and breathing are equally essential. I cannot imagine a life without either.
"There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book; books are well written or badly written." ~ Oscar Wilde
I love this quote because it reminds me that some people really love to blame books for immoral things. The same is true for any work of art. However, the art itself is not immoral. Immorality only exists in humans and only for those who subscribe to the idea that there is such a thing as "morals."
"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." ~ Ray Bradbury
Oh, Ray Bradbury. He is the Elvis of my bookshelf. Anyway, back on topic. This is absolutely right. Convince the masses that they do not have to read or that they should not read and you have lost all things written by and for those of that culture. Slowly, but surely, that culture will die. However, that is only true of cultures that rely on the written word. Some have flourished through oral histories.
"If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write." ~ Stephen King
Stephen King has said a lot about writing, this being the quote that hit home the most for me. I truly do not think a person can or should write if they do not bother to read. Of course, I think the quote would be more fitting if it was, "If you don't have the time to read, please do not bother to write."
"We read to know we are not alone." ~ C.S. Lewis
While I do not agree with all of Mr. Lewis' quotes on reading, I do agree with this one. I am sure that every avid reader who stumbles on this article will be able to recall a time of loneliness when they turned to a book for company. Consciously or subconsciously, we seek friends and enemies in literature.
"How well he's read, to reason against reading." ~ William Shakespeare
Oh, Shakespeare. Thou art a master of sarcasm. That is why I love this quote. I love sarcasm.
"Easy reading is damn hard writing." Nathaniel Hawthorne
I have read some books that are damn easy to read and I appreciate the fact that they must have been difficult to right. The reason that I can appreciate that is, in my opinion, I have never been able to accomplish easy reading in all my years of writing.
"The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read." ~ Oscar Wilde
What an astute observation, Mr. Wilde. While this quote does not hold true for all, it does hold true for many. Too often, I have met people who read the veriest slop from the keyboards of journalist and argue until their face turns blue. All the while, these people do not bother with literature, including history book, books on society, etc. Such people are doomed to be spouters of propaganda. I love this quote because I have to deal with such people everyday.
"A book must be an ice axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul." ~ Franz Kafka
I think I just like this quote because it is beautiful in Kafka's depressing way. I think what he is trying to say here is that a book must touch us, else it is unworthy and easily forgotten.
Well, that is it for great quotes from great writers for now. Perhaps I will add to this list further down the line with a part two. If you know of any great quotes on reading from great writers, please feel free to add them in the comments section.