160 Quotes About Books & Reading

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Many of us have special memories of the books that have inspired us, and have learned the profound effect that reading the right book can have at the right moment. If you’re short on time, reading some quotes about books is the next best thing.

Books have the power to transport us to new worlds and different times, but they can also take us back to the important moments in our own lives.

From building your vocabulary to reducing stress, preventing age-related cognitive decline and increasing your ability to empathize, reading books is an easy way to look after your mind and body.

Whether you’re an avid reader or wish you read more, we hope you enjoy these quotes about books and reading!

Quotes About Books

Cicero quote "A room without books is like a body without a soul"
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Cicero

′Classic′ – a book which people praise and don’t read.

Mark Twain

Sleep is good, he said, and books are better.

George R.R. Martin

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

Charles W. Eliot

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.

Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Novel

The library is inhabited by spirits that come out of the pages at night.

Isabel Allende
Thea Dorn quote "Take a good book to bed with you—books do not snore"
“Take a good book to bed with you—books do not snore.” – Thea Dorn

If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.

J.K. Rowling

One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.

Carl Sagan

When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.


Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.

Dr. Seuss

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.

Jhumpa Lahiri
Groucho Marx quote "Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read"
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.

Salman Rushdie

I love the smell of book ink in the morning.

Umberto Eco

Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.

Bill Patterson

It is is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially.

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

Neil Gaiman
Henry Ward Beecher quote "Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"
“Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?” – Henry Ward Beecher

Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.

E.B. White

A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

Charles Baudelaire

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.

Walt Disney

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

William Styron
Stephen King quote "Books are a uniquely portable magic"
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King

The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

Kurt Vonnegut

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.

Groucho Marx

I love books. I adore everything about them. I love the feel of the pages on my fingertips. They are light enough to carry, yet so heavy with worlds and ideas. I love the sound of the pages flicking against my fingers. Print against fingerprints. Books make people quiet, yet they are so loud.

Nnedi Okorafor
CS Lewis quote "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me"
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis

Books were my pass to personal freedom.

Oprah Winfrey

No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.

David Mitchell

If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.

Francois Mauriac

Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall

A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

C.S. Lewis
“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a book.” – J.K. Rowling

Wear the old coat and buy the new book.

Austin Phelps

The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.

George Orwell, 1984

It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.

C.S. Lewis

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Neil Gaiman quote "A book is a dream you hold in your hands"
“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” – Neil Gaiman

Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.

Diane Duane

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.

Anne Lamott
Anna Quindlen quote "Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home"
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” – Anna Quindlen

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.

Mortimer J. Adler

I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.

Henry Ward Beecher

I guess there are never enough books.

John Steinbeck
Joseph Joubert quote "The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones"
“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.” – Joseph Joubert

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.

Anne Herbert

Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.

Ursula K. LeGuin

A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

Terry Pratchett

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.

Toni Morrison
Lemony Snicket quote"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them"
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket

What a blessing it is to love books as I love them;- to be able to converse with the dead, and to live amidst the unreal!

Thomas Babington Macaulay

Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.

David Quammen

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.

Paul Sweeney
Jorge Luis Borges quote "I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library"
“I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges

I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to books.

Gary Paulsen

Happiness. That’s what books smells like. Happiness. That’s why I always wanted to have a book shop. What better life than to trade in happiness?

Saran MacLean

Books should go where they will be most appreciated, and not sit unread, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf, don’t you agree?

Christopher Paolini
Stephen Fry quote "Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators"
“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” – Stephen Fry

Quotes About Reading

Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.

Annie Proulx

Reading brings us unknown friends.

Honore de Belzac

My alma mater was books, a good library…. I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.

Malcolm X

Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.

Jean Rhys
Dr Seuss quotes "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go"
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.

Malorie Blackman

We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else’s mind.

Anna Quindlen

Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.

Napoleon Bonaparte

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

Henry David Thoreau

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Joseph Addison
Mary Schmich quote "Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere"
“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” – Mary Schmich

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

Harper Lee

Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I’d rather boast about the ones I’ve read.

Jorge Luis Borges

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.

Mary Wortley Montagu

The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.

Rene Descartes

A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.

Abraham Lincoln
Logan Pearsall Smith quote "People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading"
“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” – Logan Pearsall Smith

Reading—the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay.

William Styron

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.

Ursula K. LeGuin

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Reading is an act of civilization; it’s one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities.

Ben Okri
Edith Sitwell quote "My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence"
“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.” – Edith Sitwell

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.

Kate DiCamillo

I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.

Roald Dahl

Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the center of the universe. Suddenly (we’re saved!) other people are real again, and we’re fond of them.

George Saunders

Reading—even browsing—an old book can yield sustenance denied by a database search.

James Gleick
William Nicholson reading quote "We read to know we're not alone"
“We read to know we’re not alone.” – William Nicholson

Reading is an active, imaginative act; it takes work.

Khaled Hosseini

I am reading six books at once, the only way of reading; since, as you will agree, one book is only a single unaccompanied note, and to get the full sound, one needs ten others at the same time.

Virginia Woolf

Reading means borrowing.

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.

Roxane Gay
Carlos Ruiz Zafón quote "Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you"
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Read. Read. Read. Just don’t read one type of book. Read different books by various authors so that you develop different style.

R.L. Stine

Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

Alan Bennett, The History Boys

It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.

John Waters
Margaret Atwood quote "I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most"
“I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.” – Margaret Atwood

Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.

Sir Francis Bacon

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.

James Baldwin

The world was hers for the reading.

Betty Smith

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.


If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

Stephen King

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.

Robert Frost
Fran Leibowitz reading quote "Think before you speak. Read before you think"
“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.

Paul Auster

A peasant that reads is a prince in waiting.

Walter Mosley

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.

Joyce Carol Oates

A word after a word after a word is power.

Margaret Atwood

Only a generation of readers will spawn a generation of writers.

Steven Spielberg
W Sommerset Maugham quote "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life"
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” – W. Somerset Maugham

She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.

Annie Dillard

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.

John Locke

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.

William Faulkner

Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.

Louis L’Amour
Jim Rohn reading quote "Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary"
“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

Reading was a joy, a desperately needed escape — I didn’t read to learn, I was reading to read.

Christian Bauman

Reading is departure and arrival.

Terri Guillemets

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

President Harry Truman

Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.

Nora Ephron

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

P.J. O’Rourke
Margaret Fuller quote about books "Today a reader, tomorrow a leader"
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.

Lena Dunham

The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.

Mark Twain

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.

Robertson Davies

Leaders are always readers.

Kevin Trudeau
Orhan Pamuk reading quote "I read a book one day and my whole life was changed"
“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” – Orhan Pamuk

The Best Literary Quotes

Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.

Virginia Woolf, Street Haunting

Never put off till tomorrow the book you can read today.

Holbrook Jackson

Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand.

Ezra Pound
Victor Hugo quote "To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark"
“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” – Victor Hugo

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.

H.P. Lovecraft

Think of this – that the writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone with each other.

A.S. Byatt, Possession

If you stop to think about it, you’ll have to admit that all the stories in the world consist essentially of twenty-six letters. The letters are always the same, only the arrangement varies. From letters words are formed, from words sentences, from sentences chapters, and from chapters stories.

Michael Ende
Louisa May Alcott quote "She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain"
“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” – Louisa May Alcott

There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away.

Emily Dickinson

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

Oscar Wilde

In the end, we’ll all become stories.

Margaret Atwood

Reading is my favorite occupation, when I have leisure for it and books to read.

Anne Brontë

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

Ray Bradbury
Oscar Wilde reading quote "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it"
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet.

Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451

Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.

Gustave Flaubert

So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.

Roald Dahl, Matilda
Fernando Pessoa reading quote "Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life"
“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” – Fernando Pessoa

Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.

Cassandra Clare

Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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.

J.D. Salinger

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… the man who never reads lives only one.

George R.R. Martin
Arthur Conan Doyle "It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own"
“It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read.

Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Books don’t offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.

Lemony Snicket, Horseradish
Italo Covino quote "A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say"
“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” – Italo Calvino

No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.

C.S. Lewis

Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?” Mo had said…”As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells…and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower…both strange and familiar.

Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story’s voice makes everything its own.

John Berger, Keeping a Rendezvous
Umberto Eco quote "We live for books"
“We live for books.” – Umberto Eco

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.

Franz Kafka

We hope you’ve loved these quotes about books and reading.

It’s never too late (or early) to expand your horizons and start reading, and reading books is even good for your physical and mental health. So star turning those pages and getting inspired through reading today.

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Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer, researcher, and editor for keepinspiring.me. She holds an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh, and has started two businesses since 2011. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring others to live healthy, happy, and active lives.