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Classic & Contemporary Excerpts from April 24, 2000

Classic & contemporary excerpts on books, reading, and writing.
2000This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Something Old, Something New

You can find all the new ideas in the old books; only there you will find them balanced, kept in their place, and sometimes contradicted and overcome by other and better ideas. The great writers did not neglect a fad because they had not thought of it, but because they had thought of it and of all the answers to it as well.

Say That Again

Of the making of many books there is no end, and in much study there is weariness for the flesh.

Read It Again

I can't imagine … really enjoying a book and reading it only once. … Clearly one must read every good book at least once every ten years.

Book Budget

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

Substance Trumps Style

Nothing so improves the style [of writing] as having something to say.

Miserable Soul

I consider a room without reading to be a hell without consolation, an instrument of torture without relief, a prison without light, a tomb without ventilation, a ditch swarming with worms, a strangling noose, the empty house of which the Gospel speaks.

The Truth About Reading

Reading ought to be an act of homage to the God of all truth. We open our hearts to words that reflect the reality He has created or the greater Reality which He is. … Christ, the Incarnate Word, is the Book of Life in Whom we read God.

Dying Art

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon?

Writers As Leaders

Writing is the handmaiden of leadership. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill rode to glory on the back of a strong declarative sentence.

Not Saved by Writing

No words of mine would ever measure ...
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