We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering, I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.
In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro.
Thomas à Kempis
[Latin Translation: “Everywhere I have sought peace and not found it, except in a corner with a book.”]
Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation. Lend and borrow to the maximum of both books and money! But especially books, for books represent infinitely more than money.
Yes! the books - the generous friends who met me without suspicion - the merciful masters who never used me ill! The only years of my life that I can look back on with something like pride… Early and late, through the long winter nights and the quiet summer days, I drank at the fountain of knowledge, and never wearied of the draught.
[I] read books because I love them, not because I think I should read them.
Simon Van Booy
We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute – the foundation of the human condition – and should be better. We invent fictions in order to live somehow the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.