By words the mind is winged.

Aristophanes, quoted in Jan Karon, Patches of Godlight

When you re-read a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before.

Clifton Fadiman, Any Number Can Play

I think of the reader as a cat, endlessly fastidious, capable by turns of mordant indifference and riveted attention, luxurious, recumbent, ever poised. Whereas the writer is absolutely a dog, panting and moping, too eager for an affectionate scratch behind the ears, lunging frantically after any old stick thrown in the distance.

Patricia Hampl, I Could Tell You Stories

It is one of the most mysterious penalties of men that they should be forced to confide the most precious of their possessions to things so unstable and ever changing, alas, as words.

Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest

If any man wishes to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quoted in the electronic newsletter, A.Word.A.Day

I have always known that writing is indecent exposure. By publishing a book one asks to be attacked.

Peter F. Drucker, Adventures of a Bystander

Of all those arts in which the wise excel, Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.

John Sheffield, Essay on Poetry

We read to know we are not alone.

Student to C. S. Lewis in Shadowlands

Make careful choice of the books which you read. Let the Holy Scriptures ever have the pre-eminence, and next to them, the solid, lively, heavenly treatises which best expound and apply the Scriptures . …But take heed of the poison of false teachers.

Richard Baxter, Christian Directory

I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little further down our particular path than we have gone ourselves.

E. M. Forster, "A Book that Influenced Me," in Two Cheers for Democracy

I, who live by words, am
wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All
language turns
To silence …

Madeleine L'Engle, from "Word" in The Weather of the Heart

Related Elsewhere

Other articles in our 2002 Annual Books Issue include:

CT Book Awards 2002Here are the books our judges—200 pastors, scholars, and church leaders—considered the worthiest this year.
No Longer Left BehindAn insider's look at how Christian books are agented, acquired, packaged, branded, and sold in today's marketplace.

Past Reflections columns include:

Crucifixion (March 28, 2002)
God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)
Love & Marriage (November 13, 2001)
The Word of God (October 22, 2001)
Leadership (October 11, 2001)
Suffering (September 13, 2001)
Change (August 14, 2001)
Living Tradition (July 18, 2001)
Sacred Spaces (June 11, 2001)
Friendship (May 17, 2001)

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