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Monday, November 20, 2006

Book Review - Speaking Of Books

Speaking of Books is edited by Rob Kaplan and Harold Rabinowitz. The subtitle is The Best Things Ever Said About Books And Book Collecting. It basically comes down to this, If you love books you would find this book an enjoyable experience. For me it was just fun to read. The collection of quotes about books was interesting and sometimes just plain funny, especially the chapter on borrowing and loaning books. For people who love books I think you would find it interesting what other have had to say about books, book collecting, and reading.

It is very easy to read. The chapters are all relatively short. The book itself comes in at 244 pages. This is somewhat deceiving because the pages are mostly filled with quotes with what appears to be triple space between each quote. So really there is a lot of empty space. It averages about three to four quotes per page. Although you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, this book has a very appealing dust jacket. The pages are laid out nicely and the font is distinguished. Each quote is properly attributed and there is a list in the back giving all the authors who are quoted.

Let me share with you some of my favorites under their assigned chapter.

The Pleasures of Buying and Owning Books

The one best and sufficent reason for a man to buy a book is because he thinks he will be happier with it than without it. - A. Edward Newton

Wear the old coat and buy the new book. - Austin Phelps

Is there any excitement to compare with the opening of a fresh parcel of books? - William Targ

What To Read

The easiest books are generally the best, for whatever author is obscure and difficult in his own language certainly does not think clearly. - Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield

Idle reading debilitates and corrupts the mind for all wholesome reading. - Frederic Harrison

Never judge a cover by its book. - Fran Lebowitz

Choose an author as you choose a friend. - Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon

Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books. - John Ruskin

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all. - Henry David Thoreau

The Influence of Books

Do you want to get at new ideas? Read old books. Do you want to find old ideas? Read new ones. - Edward Bulwer Lytton

The pen is mighter than the sword. - Edward Bulwer Lytton

What literature can and should do is change the people who teach the people who don't buy the books. - A. S. Byatt


When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes. - Desiderius Erasmus

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore! - Henry Ward Beecher

Bibliomaniac: A victim of the obsessive-compulsive neurosis characterized by a congested library and an atrophied bank account. - Maruice Dunbar

It is far more seemly to have thy Studie full of Bookes, than thy Purse full of money. - Lohn Lyly

The Pleasures of Reading

Of all human relaxations which are free from guilt, there are none so dignified as reading. - Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges

What a convienent and delightful world is this world of books! --if you bring to it not the obligations of the student, or look upon it as an opiate for idleness, but enter it rather with the enthusiasm of the adventurer. - David Grayson

Woe be to him that reads but one book. - George Herbert

The pleasure of reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books. - Katherine Mansfield

I know not how to abstain from reading. - Samuel Pepys

What Books Do - And Don't Do - For Us

A real book is not one that is read, but one that reads us. - W. H. Auden

Reading maketh a full man; conference maketh a ready man; and writing an exact man. - Francis Bacon

Books do not make life easier or more simjple, but harder and more interesting. - Harry Golden

The right book annihilates time. - Holbrook Jackson

I cannot live without books. - Thomas Jefferson

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. - William Styron

All Those Books . . .

You can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many books. - Carter Burden

That one should possess no books beyond his power of perusal - that he should buy no faster than as he can read straight through what he has already bought - is a supposition alike preposterous and unreasonable. "Surely you have far more books that you can read" is sometimes the inane remark of the barbarian who gets his books, volume by volume, from some circulation library or reading club, and reads them all through, one after the other, with a dreary dutifulness, that he may be sure that he has got the vaule of his money. - Joh Hill Burton

If anyone asks you if you've read all those books, it means you don't have enough books. - Chaim Grade

There are 10,000 books in my library, and it will keep growing till I die. This has exasperated my daughter, amused my friends, and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library long ago, I would have more money in the bank today; I would not be richer. - Pete Hamill

Any man with a moderate income can afford to buy more books than he can read in a lifetime. - Henry Holt

I wish to have one copy of every book in the world. - Sir Thomas Phillipps

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. - Anna Quindlen

How To Read

Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. - Francis Bacon


A little library growing larger every year, is an honourable part of a man's history. It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life. - Henry Ward Beecher

The great consulting room of a wise man is a library. When I am in perplexity about life, I have but to come here, and, without fee or reward, I commune with the wisest souls that God had blessed the world with. - Gerorge Dawson

Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pin-heads. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Good Books And Bad

That is a good book that is opened with expectation, and closed with profit. - A. Bronson Alcott

The covers of this book are too far apart. - Ambrose Bierce

One always tends to over praise a long book, because one has got through it. - E. M. Forster

The only trouble with this book is that its covers are too close together. - Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

A book that funishes no quotations is . . . no book-it is a plaything. - Thomas Love Peacock

The Comfort Found In Books

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier. - Kathleen Norris

Muddling among old books has the quality of a sedative, and saves the tear and wear of an overwrought brain. - Sir Walter Scott

Lending And Borrowing Books

For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book to its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his member blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, and let there be no surcease to this agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails. . . - Anonymous "curse" on book thieves from the monastary of San Pedro Barcelona

Never lend books - nobody ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are those which people have loaned me. - Anatole France

The owner of a country house was showing some visitors over a superb library. "Do you ever lend books?" he was asked. "No," he replied promptly, "only fools lend books." Then waving his hand to a many-shelved section filled with handsomely bound volumes, he added, "All those books once belonged to fools." - Frank Hird

Everything comes t' him who waits but a loaned book. - Kin Hubbard

You borrowers of books - those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creaters of odd volumes. - Charles Lamb

For some reason a book borrower feels that a book, once taken, is his own. This removes both the memory and guilt from the transaction. Making the matter worse, the lender believes it, too. To keep up apperances, he may solemnly extract an oath that the book be brought back as soon as possible; the borrower answering with matching solemnity that the Lord might seize his eyes were he to do otherwise. But it is all play. Once gone, the book is gone forever. The lender, fearing rudeness, never asks for it again. The borrower never stoops to raise the subject. - Roger Rosenblatt

There is no spectacle that is as terrifying as the sight of a guest in you house whom you catch staring at your books. It is not the judgemental possibility that is frightening. The fact that one's sense of discrimination is exposed by his books. Indeed, most people would much prefer to see the guest first scan, then peer and turn away in boredom or disapproval. Alas, too often the eyes, dark with calculation, shift from title to title . . . . Nor is that the worst. It is when those eyes stop moving that the heart, too, stops. The guest's body twitches; his hand floates up to where his eyes have led it. There is nothing to be done. You freeze. He smiles. You hear the question even as it forms: "Would you mind if I borrowed this book?" - Roger Rosenblatt

Books And The Young

You may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that it is very well worthwhile to be tormented for two or three years of one's life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it. - Jane Austen

Education begins by teaching children to read and ends by making most of them hate reading. - Holbrook Jackson

Any kid who has two parents that are interested in him and has a house full of books isn't poor. - Sam Levenson

Reacing is the scourge of childhood because, in a sense, it creates adulthood. - Neil Postman

What Books Can - And Cannot - Teach Us

A single conversations across the table with a wise man is better than ten years' study of books. - Anonymous Chinese saying

To read without reflecting, is like eating without digesting. - Edmund Burke

There is nothing more injurious to the faculties than to keep poring over books continually without attempting to exhibit any of our own conceptions. - Thomas Carlyle

What one knows best is . . . what one has learned not from books but as a result of books, through the reflections to which they given rise. - Sebastian-Roch-Nicolas Chamfort

It is vanity to persuade the world one hath learning, by getting a great library. As soon shall I believe every one is valiant that hath a well-furnished armoury. - Thomas Fuller

The best service a book can render you is not to impart truth, but to make you think it out for yourself. - Elbert Hubbard

It is one thing to own a library; another to use it wisely. - Sir John Lubbock

Reading does not make a man wise; it only makes him learned. - W. Somerset Maugham

In vain do they boast of full libraries that are contented to live with empty heads. - Sir William Waller

Authors And Their Readers

That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time. - Charles Caleb Colton

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. - Dr. Samuel Johnson

In reality, people read because they want to write. Anyway reading is a sort of rewriting. - Jean-Paul Sartre

Collectors And Collecting

To be proud of having two thousand books would be absurd. You might as well be proud of having two topcoats. After your first two thousand difficulty begins, but until you have ten thousand volumes the less you say about your library the better. Then you may begin to speak. - Augustine Birrell

It is because the passion for books is a sentimental passion that people who have not felt it always fail to understand it. - Andrew Lang

Book-collectors are buzzards who stretch their wings in anticipation as they wait patiently for a colleague's demise; and then they swoop down and ghoulishly grab some long-coveted treasure from the dear departed's trove. - A. S. W. Rosenbach

Books Forever

My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read. - Abraham Lincoln

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

You can't tell a book by its movie. - Louis A. Safian

Education . . . has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading. - George Macaulay Trevelyan

I like a thin book because it will steady a table, a leather volume because it will strop a razor, and a heavy book because it can be thrown at a cat. - Mark Twain

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. - Mark Twain

Never let is be said that you allowed a book about books to usurp the power of the books themselves. - Daniel J. O'Neill

It is a fun book for book lovers.

Book Rating ****

Oh, by the way while on a field trip this past Saturday with the wresting team from a local high school I realized I was only a few miles from a great used bookstore that my wife and I had visited on our anniversary celebration back in June. I took advantage of my close proximity to that location and made my way over to browse through his large selection of old and new books. Came away with only three.

The Indomitable Baptist. It is a narritave of the Baptist's role in shaping American history.

Christian Doctrines by J. M. Pendleton. It is a basic theology book from a Baptist author.

Readings in the History of Church Thought. It is a book that consist of a wide range of readings on a equally wide range of topics from church history.

Good day and happy reading!
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