Ten Great Books:
– The Denial of Death, by Ernest Becker taught me why human individuals act and feel the way we do.
– Escape from Evil, by Ernest Becker taught me why human civilizations act and evolve the way they do.
– The Story of Philosophy, by Will Durant introduced me to the ideas of the West’s greatest minds.
– The Story of Civilization, by Will Durant revealed to me the adventures, personalities, and lessons of history.
– Walden, by Thoreau introduced me to the majesty of the natural world and the glory of good writing.
– The Collapsing Universe, by Isaac Asimov taught me the power and elegance of a scientific mindset.
– Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy taught me the beauty of story and spurred a lifelong love of Russia.
– Don Quixote, by Cervantes showed me that hilarious writing pre-dates The Onion by 400 years.
– Hamlet, by Shakespeare taught me that a book can contain all imaginable by any one reader, and more.
– How the Mind Works, by Pinker showed me that vast realms of the “unknowable” are coming into focus now.
“Come, and take choice of all my library / And so beguile thy sorrow.” – Shakespeare
I love that quote. It implies that any sadness can be salved by the lending of a book. I think there is truth in that.
Make thy books thy companions. Let thy cases and shelves be thy pleasure grounds and gardens.
– Judah ibn-Tibbon (12th century)
To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.
It is, however, not to the museum, or the lecture-room, or the drawing-school, but to the library, that we must go for the completion of our humanity. It is books that bear from age to age the intellectual wealth of the world.
– Owen Meredith
The only true equalisers in the world are books; the only treasure-house open to all comers is a library; the only wealth which will not decay is knowledge; the only jewel which you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom.
– J. A. Langford
Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one.
– Augustine Birrell
My library / Was dukedom large enough.
– Shakespeare, The Tempest