If you are a reader, and someone asks you, “Why is it you read all time?” or, “What’s so great about books, anyway?” it can really rile you up. And what’s even more frustrating is when you can’t actually put into words how exactly it is that books are so amazing to you.
Trying to explain to someone who doesn’t read books why these stories have such an impact on you can be like trying to describe colours to someone blind from birth: the words might be understood, but the concept would remain mysterious and private.
Here are 20 times where authors and writers were spot on about the impact that books have on us, and how it can feel to be a reader or book lover.
1. “They say fiction is the closest well ever get from magic. Open a book and an entire world will pop out and it doesn’t matter if it’s dragons or Victorian children or wizards. You are immediately someone else and somewhere else”
― Holly Smale, Picture Perfect
2. “I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”
― Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me
4. “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, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin
7. “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
8. “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
9. “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
11. “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, The Catcher in the Rye
13. “In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
― Mark Twain
15. “Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines
16. “I fell in love with books. Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding.”
― Donald Miller, To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father
17. “Bookstores attract the right kind of folk. Good people like A.J. and Amelia. And I like talking about books with people who like talking about books. I like paper. I like how it feels, and I like the feel of a book in my back pocket. I like how a new book smells, too.”
― Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
18. “Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know.”
― Alberto Manguel, A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader’s Reflections on a Year of Books
19. “The magical thing about books is you can never know which one is going to change your life.”
― Tahereh Mafi
20. “I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”
― J.K. Rowling