The Big Read Blog (Archive)


Washington, DC

In this 1938 photo from the Library of Congress' collection, Folger Library reference librarian Dr. Giles E. Dawson peruses one of 9,000 volumes that had been recently purchased for the library. Valued around $2.5 million, the books were published in England sometime between the the reign of Henry VIII and the Cromwell Revolt.

Continuing with the quotations meme I've had going since the new year, today I'm dipping into George Seldes' The Great Quotations, first published in 1967.  The tome's curiously taciturn on the subject of reading, but it more than makes up for it with a few pages on books. Here's a sampling.

A book may be as great a thing as a battle. (Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister)

Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. (Alfred Whitney Griswold, former President of Yale University)

When a book raises your spirit and inspires you with noble and courageous feelings, seek no other rule to judge the event by; it is good and made by a good workman. (Jean de la Bruyere, French essayist)

It is wonderful that even today, with all competition of records, of television, of motion pictures, the book has kept its precious character. (John Steinbeck, American writer)

We all know that books burn---yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire. . . [W]e know books are weapons. And it is a part of your dedication to make them weapons for man's freedom. (Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President)

What's your favorite quote on books, reading, or literature? Drop a line to, or leave a comment.


Add new comment