Books

40 Famous Authors On Reading

Any truly great writer also needs to be a voracious reader. Your favourite author probably has a list of favourite authors who also have a list of favourite authors and so on. 

It therefore translates that a successful author would have something fascinating to share about the art of reading. We've put together 40 of the greatest quotes from some of our favourite writers.

(Images: Rex Features)

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading

    Ernest Hemingway

    “There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 1

    JD Salinger

    “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.”

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 2

    Stephen King

    “Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 3

    Margaret Atwood

    "Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy - which many believe goes hand in hand with it - will be dead as well."
     

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 4

    Ray Bradbury

    "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

     
  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 5

    Harper Lee

    "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 6

    Mark Twain

    "Don't explain your author, read him right and he explains himself."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 7

    Oscar Wilde

    "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 8

    Aldous Huxley

    "Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced"

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 9

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "Easy reading is damn hard writing."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 10

    William Faulkner

    “Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 11

    Hilary Mantel

    "Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations"

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 12

    Roald Dahl

    "Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 13

    Franz Kafka

    “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 14

    Neil Gaiman

    "The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity"

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 15

    Virginia Woolf

    “When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 16

    Anthony Burgess

    "The possession of a book becomes a substitute for reading it."
     

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 17

    Maya Angelou

    “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.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 18

    Victor Hugo

    “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 19

    Ian McEwan

    "Perhaps the greatest reading pleasure has an element of self-annihilation. To be so engrossed that you barely know you exist."
     

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 20

    HP Lovecraft

    “I couldn't live a week without a private library - indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 21

    Gustave Flaubert

    “The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.”

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 22

    Donna Tartt

    "The books I loved in childhood - the first loves - I've read so often that I've internalized them in some really essential way: they are more inside me now than out."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 23

    Honoré de Balzac

    “Reading brings us unknown friends.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 24

    E.M. Forster

    "Books have to be read (worse luck it takes so long a time). It is the only way of discovering what they contain. A few savage tribes eat them, but reading is the only method of assimilation revealed to the West." 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 25

    C.S. Lewis

    “Clearly one must read every good book at least once every ten years.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 26

    Henry Miller

    "We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 27

    George Orwell

    “And if our book consumption remains as low as it has been, at least let us admit that it is because reading is a less exciting pastime than going to the dogs, the pictures or the pub, and not because books, whether bought or borrowed, are too expensive.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 28

    Chuck Palahniuk

    "The bright future is that readers are accepting more varied forms of stories."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 29

    George R.R. Martin

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 30

    Eudora Welty

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” 

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 31

    Kurt Vonnegut

    “I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.”

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 32

    PG Wodehouse

    "There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature"

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 33

    JK Rowling

    "I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book"

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 34

    Vladimir Nabokov

    "Knowing you have something good to read before bed is among the most pleasurable of sensations"

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 35

    Haruki Murakami

    "If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 36

    Marcel Proust

    "There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 37

    W Somerset Maugham

    “The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.”

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 38

    George Bernard Shaw

    "Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself."

  • 40 Famous Authors On Reading 39

    Zadie Smith

    "...when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It's an old moral, but it's completely true.” 

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