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Reading to Live, to Read

I have given up reading books; I find it takes my mind off myself.—Oscar LevantLibrary 21, Dean Nimmer

The links in this "room" connect to a few—just a few!—of the poems, and excerpts from the books that move me most, in no particular order. My love for them is idiosyncratic and all mine, mysterious, and absolute. I can explain many things about the virtues and merits of these pieces, but I can't say why they have entered me more fully than other poems, or other moments equally fine.

All I know is that this kind of attraction is chemical, it's deep, and no less palpable than the stirrings we feel when we fall in love with another person. These are some of the charged, soul-changing moments from a lifetime's reading that has kept me whole. (Clearly, other people live in this room, too.):

It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.―W.G. Sebald

When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story's voice makes everything its own.- John Berger

To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.—Gaston Bachelard

The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.— Anthony Trollope

We read to know we are not alone.—C.S. Lewis

When you sell a man a book you don't sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glueyou sell him a whole new life.—Christopher Morley

A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.—Samuel Johnson

The greatest gift is a passion for reading.—Elizabeth Hardwick.

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.- Groucho Marx

Read in order to live.—Gustav Flaubert

The more you read, the more things you'll know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.—Dr.Seuss

The Reader's Room

The Lover in Winter Plaineth for Spring by AnonymousThe Bedroom, Vincent Van Gogh

A Hill by Anthony Hecht

Elegy For Whatever Had A Pattern In It by Larry Levis

The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens

From Holy The Firm by Annie Dillard

From Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

To Any Reader by Robert Louis Stevenson

For Once, Then, Something by Robert Frost

From I Send You This Cadmium Red:  A correspondence between John Berger and John Christie

Domestic Mysticism by Lucie Brock Broido

Epithalamium by Louise Gluck

The Crossed Apple by Louise Bogan

From Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald

From Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen

Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden

From Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Renunciation—is a piercing Virtue by Emily Dickinson