Thursday, November 10, 2016

Book: The Pleasure of Reading by Antonia Fraser


The Pleasure of Reading is a treat for bibliophiles. The book is a compendium of entries by different authors explaining how they fell into reading and reminiscing about their favourite books. The hardback edition is exquisitely illustrated, with images that capture the magic of reading.

Most entries in The Pleasure of Reading conclude with a list of the author's favourite books, which provided me with many endless additions for my already infinite reading list.

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Quotes

I once asked Mr Beckett who is favourite author was, and rather tetchily he replied there was no such thing. For me there is, and it is Chekhov. His stories have passed into my bloodstream, the fates of his characters as vivid to me as the happenings in my own life. - Edna O'Brien

The great thing about reading is not just the hour by the fire or on the train, but the seamless accumulation in the mind from the moments of books, the residual thrill, the way the characters swish about in our consciousness long after we have finished the tale. - Edna O'Brien

And reading became a pleasure so intense it was practically a vice. - Gita Mehta

But then I am an addict, addicted to reading by those magicians sitting cross-legged in the pavements endlessly arranging and re-arranging their stock, who lured us away from the little world of the self into whole galaxies of the imagination. ...as they shouted to us like circus barkers, corrupting us with their seductive litany of titles. - Gita Mehta

If you have taught yourself through books then every one has been chose by you, as part of a personal Odyssey, has been absorbed and becomes part of your substance. - Doris Lessing

The books I responded to then are not those I would choose as best now. You have to read a book at the right time for you..for it is key to the enjoyment of literature. - Doris Lessing


I've always felt a great sadness on finishing a book I've enjoyed. And a strong reluctance to actually close the book and put it on a shelf. I delay the moment of parting as other people might put off ending a love affair. - Sue Townsend

The first book I lost a night's sleep over was Jane Eyre. It was winter and our house wasn't heated - apart from a coal fire in the living room. I read in bed. My fingers and arms froze, my nails went blue. Frost formed on the inside of the window panes, but I could not put Jane Eyre down. ... Snow fell, a few birds began to sing, my eyes drooped, but I had to read on. Who had started the fire? Who was the mad creature in the attic? I ate my porridge reading. I walked to school reading. I read in each lesson until the morning milk break. I finished the last page in the school cloakroom, surrounded by wet gabardine mackintoshes....

Reading became a secret obsession; I would drop a book guiltily if anyone came into my room. I went nowhere without a book. - Sue Townsend

At sixteen, with my mind exploding, I thought, there is a world of books out there, and I began on the trajectories of discovery that will end when I die. - Doris Lessing

Literature is for everybody. It does not need professors and teachers. - Doris Lessing

Perhaps students should be told that an effort is required, when you start to read a serious author, to overcome menal laziness and reluctance, because you are about to enter the mind of someone who thinks differently from yourself. And that is the whole point and the only point... - Doris Lessing

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