There is no List with a capital L. The great books are simply the books which deal most incisively, most eloquently, most universally, and most timelessly with man and his world.
That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.
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.
If democracy is going to function as it should, the man-in-the-street is going to have to think better.
There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.
It is literature which for me opened the mysterious and decisive doors of imagination and understanding. To see the way others see. To think the way others think. And above all, to feel.
When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.
If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.