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“Readers may be divided into four classes:
"Sponges who absorb all they read and return it nearly in the same state, only a little dirtied.
Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.
Strain-bags, who retain nearly the dregs of what they read.
Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also.
“Hence the multiplicity of bad books, those exuberant weeds of literature which choke the true corn. Such books rob the public of time, money, and attention, which ought properly to belong to good literature and noble aims, and they are written with a view merely to make money or occupation. They are therefore not merely useless, but injurious.”
--Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), Parerga and Paralipomena
“Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A home without books is like a room without windows. No man has the right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them. It is a wrong to his family. He cheats them! Children learn to read by being in the presence of books. The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it.
“A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable 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 (1813-1887) Sermons
“Oh! But books are such safe company! They keep your Secrets well: they never boast that they made your eyes glisten, or your cheek flush, or your heart throb. You may take up your favorite Author, and love him at a distance just as warmly as you like, for all the sweet fancies and glowing thoughts that have winged your lonely hours so fleetly and so sweetly.
“You may have a thousand petty, provoking, irritating annoyances through the day, and you shall come back again to your dear old book, and forget them all in dreamland. It shall be a friend that shall be always at hand; that shall never try you by caprice, or pain you by forgetfulness, or wound you by distrust.”
--Sara P. Parton (Fanny Fern: 1811-1872), Fern Leaves
“The book is your physician, guardian, guide: It heals your hate, and cures your frenzied mood.”
--Victor Hugo (1802-1885), L’Annie Terrible
“The celebrated library at Alexandria was probably the largest collection ever brought together before the invention of printing. It is said to have been founded by Ptolemy Soter about 283 B.C., and increased by his successors until it contained, according to Aulus Gellius, 700,000 volumes During the siege of Alexandria by Julius Ceasar, a great part of this library was burnt by a fire, which spread from the shipping to the city; it was soon re-established and augmented by the addition of the library founded by Eumenes, King of Pergamus (the accredited inventor of parchment), which collection, amounting to 200,000 volumes, Marc Antony presented to Cleopatra, Alexandria flourished as one of the chief seats of literature until it was taken by the Arabs, 640 A.D. The library was then burnt, according to the story generally believed, in consequence of the fanatic decision of the Caliph Omar: “If these writings of the Greeks agree with the Book of God, they are useless and need not be preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious, and ought to be destroyed. Accordingly it is said, they were employed to heat the 4000 baths of the city; and such was their number that six months were barely sufficient for the consumption of the precious fuel.”
--John Power, A Handy-Book About Books
“That literature is fundamental to our cultural heritage and our shared patrimony is a given. The Greeks have their Iliad and Odyssey, the Chines their Tao te Ching, the Indians their Mahabharata, the Italians their Divine Comedy, the Spanish their Don Quixote, and each of these works is a literary masterpiece that is transcendent, everyone an epic in the most fundamental sense of the word. Even among cultures that have not survived to our time, great works that helped define who these people were live on – the most fundamental sense of the word. Even among cultures that have not survived to our time, great works that helped define who these people were live on – the Mesopotamians with their Gilgamesh, the Romans with their Aeneid, the Maya with their Popol Vuh, to cite just a few examples. But books not only define lives, civilizations, and collective identities, they also have the power to shape events and nudge the course of history, and they do it in countless ways. Some of them are profoundly obvious, as in the case of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the 1852 novel that, some believe, moved Abraham Lincoln to remark “caused this great war,” or Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, an eloquent condemnation of the pesticide DDT issued in 1962 that questioned sureness of technological progress and ushered in the environmental protection movement.
“Those books were read by millions of people, and their impact was immediate. Other books, though read by only a few in their time – Nicolaus Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) of 1543 being a prime example – were read all the same by an important few, and thus altered the way humanity views the world, in this case the entire solar system and the vast universe that contains it. Civil Disobedience was published in 1866, four years after its author, Henry David Thoreau, had died at age of forty-four. The essay had little influence on nineteenth-century thinkers at first, prompting the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy to wonder why Americans paid very little attention to its thesis, which advocated the principles of passive resistance. Adherents of this approach in the twentieth century, though, included Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.”
--Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World by Nicholas A. Basbane
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs.