The best people to listen to when it comes to the power and magic of literature are authors. Here is a selection of some of their statements:
'The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.'
‘The core of the problem is how we want to define “literature”. The Latin root simply means “letters”. Those letters are either delivered—they connect with an audience—or they don’t. For some, that audience is a few thousand college professors and some critics. For others, it’s twenty million women desperate for romance in their lives. Those connections happen because the books successfully communicate something real about the human experience.'
'At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.'
'The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.'
'People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.'
'I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.'
'That's what literature is. It's the people who went before us, tapping out messages from the past, from beyond the grave, trying to tell us about life and death! Listen to them!'
'I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have yet gone ourselves.'
'I couldn't live a week without a private library - indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.'
'She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells.'
'Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.'
'The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn't know how to read.'
'When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.'
'A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.'
-Jorge Luis Borges
'What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.'
'Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.'
'That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.'
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
'Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.'
'A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.'
'Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!'
'Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.'
'What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.'
'There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.'
'Without literature, life is hell.'