What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.
A book is a device to ignite the imagination.
Books are not about passing time. They're about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time one could go to New Zealand.
You don't put your life into your books, you find it there.
We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.
How do I define history? It's just one fucking thing after another
The days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.
Above literature?' said the Queen. 'Who is above literature? You might as well say one was above humanity.
Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it’s now or never.
History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.
One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.
Definition of a classic: a book everyone is assumed to have read and often thinks they have.
Clichés can be quite fun. That's how they got to be clichés.
I'm not "happy" but I'm not unhappy about it.
...she felt about reading what some writers felt about writing: that it was impossible not to do it and that at this late stage of her life she had been chosen to read as others were chosen to write.
History is just one fucking thing after another.
Cloisters, ancient libraries ... I was confusing learning with the smell of cold stone.
Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting.
It's subjunctive history. You know, the subjunctive? The mood used when something may or may not have happened. When it is imagined.
One reads for pleasure...it is not a public duty.
... Once I start a book I finish it. That was the way one was brought up. Books, bread and butter, mashed potato - one finishes what's on one's plate. That's always been my philosophy.
I don't always understand poetry!' 'You don't always understand it? Timms, I never understand it. But learn it now, know it now and you will understand it...whenever.
To read is to withdraw.To make oneself unavailable. One would feel easier about it if the pursuit inself were less...selfish.
It was the kind of library he had only read about in books.
All the effort went into getting there and then I had nothing left. I thought I'd got somewhere, then I found I had to go on.
Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.
God doesn't do notes, either. Did Jesus Christ say, "Can I be excused the Crucifixion?" No!
One recipe for happiness is to have to sense of entitlement.' To this she added a star and noted at the bottom of the page: 'This is not a lesson I have ever been in a position to learn.
The transmission of knowledge is in itself an erotic act.
I think of literature,' she wrote, 'as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach. And I have started to late. I will never catch up.
I saw someone peeing in Jermym Street the other day. I thought, is this the end of civilization as we know it? Or is it simply someone peeing in Jermyn Street?
Can there be any greater pleasure than to come across an author one enjoys and then to find they have written not just one book or two, but at least a dozen?
History nowadays is not a matter of conviction. It’s a performance. It’s entertainment. And if it isn’t, make it so.
I have to seem like a human being all the time, but I seldom have to be one. I have people to do that for me.
. . . there was little to choose between Jews and Catholics. The Jews had holidays that turned up out of the blue and the Catholics had children in much the same way.
Books are not about passing the time. They're about other lives. Other worlds.
At eighty things do not occur; they recur.
Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. Good-looking people marry good-looking people and the others take what's left.
Dakin: The more you read, though, the more you'll see that literature is actually about losers. Scripps: No. Dakin: It's consolation. All literature is consolation.
Still, to be urged to write and to be urged to publish are two different things and nobody so far was urging her to do the latter.
I am the King. I tell. I am not told. I am the verb, sir. I am not the object. (King George III)
I know what’s required. It’s perfectly simple: Justice.
Never at my best when at my best behaviour.
One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation.
A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.
She‘d never taken much interest in reading. She read, of course, as one did, but liking books was something she left to other people.
Still, though reading absorbed her, what the Queen had not expected was the degree to which it drained her of enthusiasm for anything else.
It is seldom at the frontier that discoveries are made but more often in the dustbin.
I note at the age of ten a fully developed ability not quite to enjoy myself, a capacity I have retained intact ever since.
She wasn't wholly infatuated, though she liked the way he looked; but, so too did he and that unfatuated her a bit.
How old does one have to be still to say tits?
The Jews had holidays that turned up out of the blue and the Catholics had children in much the same way.
Still, for all that everybody, while not happy, is not unhappy about it. And so they go on.
The more institutions and freedoms and benefits one can take for granted – of which in my view free state-supported galleries and museums come high on the list – the more civilised a society is.
Books are wonderful, aren't they?' she said to the vice-chancellor who concurred. 'At the risk of sounding like a piece of steak,' she said, 'they tenderise one.
Proust's is a long book, though, water- skiing permitting, you could get through it in the summer recess
The prime minister did not wholly believe in the past or in any lessons that might be drawn from it.
The king is up. You attend on the king, not on the clock. When the king is awake, you are awake.
You don't put your life into books. You find it there.