A novel points out that the world consists entirely of exceptions.
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- A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.
- In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.
- There are people who read too much: bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.
- After all, the world is not a stage — not to me: nor a theatre: nor a show-house of any sort. And art, especially novels, are not little theatres where the reader sits aloft and watches… and sighs, commiserates, condones and smiles. That’s what you want a book to be: because it leaves you so safe and superior, with your two-dollar ticket to the show. And that’s what my books are not and never will be. Whoever reads me will be in the thick of the scrimmage, and if he doesn’t like it — if he wants a safe seat in the audience — let him read someone else.
- A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it; or offer your own version in return.
- Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.