“We read to find the end, for the story's sake. We read not to reach it, for the sake of the reading itself. We read searchingly, like trackers, oblivious of our surroundings. We read distractedly, skipping pages. We read contemptuously, admiringly, negligently, angrily, passionately, enviously, longingly. We read in gusts of sudden pleasure, without knowing what brought the pleasure along. 'What in the world is this emotion?' asks Rebecca West after reading King Lear. 'What is the bearing of supremely great works of art on my life which makes me feel so glad?' We don't know: we read ignorantly. We read in slow, long motions, as if drifting in space, weightless. We read full of prejudice, malignantly. We read generously, making excuses for the text, filling gaps, mending faults. And sometimes, when the stars are kind, we read with an intake of breath, with a shudder, as if someone or something has 'walked over our grave,' as if a memory had suddenly been rescued from a place deep within us--the recognition of something we never knew was there, or of something we vaguely felt as a flicker or shadow, whose ghostly form rises and passes back into us before we can see what it is, leaving us older and wiser.”
“Books may not change our suffering, books may not protect us from evil, books may not tell us what is good or what is beautiful, and they will certainly not shield us from the common fate of the grave. But books grant us myriad possibilities: the possibility of change, the possibility of illumination.
“El amor por la lectura es algo que se aprende pero no se enseña. De la misma forma que nadie puede obligarnos a enamorarnos, nadie puede obligarnos a amar un libro. Son cosas que ocurren por razones misteriosas, pero de lo que sí estoy convencido es que a cada uno de nosotros hay un libro que nos espera. En algún lugar de la biblioteca hay una página que ha sido escrita para nosotros.”
“Faced with a text, the reader can transform the words into a message that deciphers for him or her a question historically unrelated to the text itself or to its author. This transmigration of meaning can enlarge or impoverish the text itself; invariably it imbues the text with the circumstances of the reader. Through ignorance, through faith, through intelligence, through trickery and cunning, through illumination, the reader rewrites the text with the same words of the original but under another heading, re-creating it, as it were, in the very act of bringing it into being.”
“Reading in bed is a self-centered act, immobile, free from ordinary social conventions, invisible to the world, and one that, because it takes place between the sheets, in the realm of lust and sinful idleness, has something of the thrill of the forbidden.”