Friday, June 22, 2007

The Test of a Great Book-

I mentioned Salman Rushdie's 'The Satamic Verses' yesterday, and the subsequent discussion made me go look up some reading- and writing-related quotes I had sitting around. Summer is reading time, and if we're reading it, somebody must have written it, so all in all it seemed like an appropriate way to go into the first summer weekend-

"The test of a first-rate work, and a test of your sincerity in calling it a first-rate work, is that you finish it"
-Arnold Bennett

"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all".
-Oscar Wilde, in the Preface to "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

"Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking makes what we read ours".
-John Locke, "Conduct of Understanding"

"Indeed, as regards remuneration for the time to write the novel, stonebreaking would have done better".
-Anthony Trollope speaking of "The Warden"

"Your manuscript is both good and original; but what is good is not original, and what is original is not good".
-Samuel Johnson

"Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other fools have lent me."
-Anatole France

Asked whether he liked books, Mark Twain said that he liked a thin book because it would steady a table, a leather volume because it would strop a razor, and a heavy book because it could be thrown at a cat.
-from "The Delights of Reading" by Otto L. Bettmann


Mike said...

I have a house full of books and for the most part after I read them, I throw them at cats or use them as door stops. Mark Twain had the right idea.

Kerstin said...

I'm a book stealer. Lend me a book and I promise you never to return it. I can't help it. I have "other people's books" kleptomania.

Cissy Strutt said...

I used to lend books. Then I had a very strict "no lend" policy. Now I just give them away after I've read them - it's much easier.

Catalyst said...

I'm with Cissy. I've got so many books around the house that didn't sell in our bookstore and didn't sell on line that I'm to the point of giving them away. SWMBO is planning for another eventuality: a big and continuing yard sale at bargain basement prices until they're all gone or she's sick of it. I'll let you all know when it is and you can fill up your homes!

jgodsey said...

"Your manuscript is both good and original; but what is good is not original, and what is original is not good".

you've been reading my blog . . .

Kaytie M. Lee said...

I only lend books to my friend who lives in a 400 square foot apartment because I know she doesn't have the room to keep them.

Sara Sue said...

I pay storage each month on boxes upon boxes of books. I have promised myself that when I finally unpack my storage I will give them ALL away ... except my hardbound "Catcher in the Rye", "Gone With the Wind", "Moby Dick", "War & Peace", ... oh hell, who am I kidding? I'll be toting the damned things around with me until the day I die!

Joey Polanski said...

John Locke is th guy from Lost, aintee?

Sideon said...

No lending on my books, either. I agree - it's easier to give them away when I'm done reading them.

There are very few books that I've wanted to read more than once, and those I will never get rid of (let alone lend them!).

The Mark Twain quote was my favorite.

Colonel Colonel said...

Mike- Mark Twain was wise in many ways. He must have liked gin.

Kirsten, Cissy, Catalyst, Kaytie & Sideon- I lend books, but only those I am willing to basically consider as gifts to the lendee, and its a happy surprise if they come back. If there's something I really think someone would want to read and my copy is important to me, I'll buy another copy and lend/give it.

Joey- Got it in one!!

Gods- yes, we've batted that around a few times, haven't we?

Sara- you have come to an important realization- the books are there to stay and resistance is futile.