Standing by the crib of one's own baby, with that world - old pang of compassion and protectiveness toward this so little creature that has all its course to run, the heart flies back in yearning and gratitude to those who felt just so toward one's self. Then for the first time one understands the homely succession of sacrifices and pains by which life is transmitted and fostered down the stumbling generations of men.
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Printer's ink has been running a race against gunpowder these many, many years. Ink is handicapped, in a way, because you can blow up a man with gunpowder in half a second, while it may take twenty years to blow him up with a book. But the gunpowder destroys itself along with its victim, while a book can keep on exploding for centuries.
The human mind appears suddenly and inexplicably out of some unknown and unimaginable void. It passes half its known life in the mental chaos of sleep. Even when awake it is a victim of its own ill-adjustment, of disease, of age, of external suggestion, of nature's compulsions; it doubts its own sensations and trusts only in instruments and averages.
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We have all sorts of conditions of booksellers: one is fanatic on the subject of libraries. He thinks that every public library should be dynamited. Another thinks that moving pictures will destroy the book trade. What rot! Surely everything that arouses people's minds, that makes them alert and questing, increases their appetite for books. - Roger Mifflin
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New York is Babylon : Brooklyn is the truly Holy City. New York is the city of envy, office work, and hustle; Brooklyn is the region of homes and happiness... There is no hope for New Yorkers, for their glory in Their skyscraping sins; but in Brooklyn there is the wisdom of the lowly.
A doctor is advertised by the bodies he cures. My business is advertised by the minds I stimulate. And let me tell you that the book business is different from other trades. People don't know they want books. I can see just by looking at you that your mind is ill for lack of books but you are blissfully unaware of it!
There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love, and like that colossal adventure it is an experience of great social import. Even as the tranced swain, the booklover yearns to tell others of his bliss. He writes letters about it, adds it to the postscript of all manner of communications, intrudes it into telephone messages, and insists on his friends writing down the title of the find. Like the simple-hearted betrothed, once certain of his conquest, 'I want you to love her, too!' It is a jealous passion also. He feels a little indignant if he finds that any one else has discovered the book, too.
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I have always suffered from the feeling that it's better to read a good book than to write a poor one; and I've done so much mixed reading in my time that my mind is full of echoes and voices of better men. But this book I'm worrying about now really deserves to be written, I think, for it has a message of its own.
Lord!" he said, "when you sell a man a book you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book I mean. Jiminy! If I were the baker or the butcher or the broom huckster, people would run to the gate when I came by - just waiting for my stuff. And here I go loaded with everlasting salvation - yes, ma'am, salvation for their little, stunted minds - and it's hard to make 'em see it. That's what makes it worth while - I'm doing something that nobody else from Nazareth, Maine, to Walla Walla, Washington, has ever thought of. It's a new field, but by the bones of Whitman, it's worth while. That's what this country needs - more books!
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New York is Babylon : Brooklyn is the truly Holy City. New York is the city of envy, office work, and hustle; Brooklyn is the region of homes and happiness.... There is no hope for New Yorkers, for their glory in Their skyscraping sins; but in Brooklyn there is the wisdom of the lowly.
Continually one faces the horrible matter of making decisions. The solution is, as far as possible, to avoid conscious rational decisions and choices; simply to do what you find yourself doing; to float in the great current of life with as little friction as possible; to allow things to settle themselves, as indeed they do with the most infallible certainty.
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Truth and Beauty (perhaps Keats was wrong in identifying them: perhaps they have the relation of Wit and Humour, or Rain and Rainbow) are of interest only to hungry people. There are several kinds of hunger. If Socrates, Spinoza, and Santayana had had free access to a midnight icebox we would never have heard of them. Shall I be ashamed of my little mewing truths?... I ask to be forgiven: they are such tiny ones.
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There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love, and like that colossal adventure it is an experience of great social import. Even as the tranced swain, the booklover yearns to tell others of his bliss. He writes letters about it, adds it to the postscript of all manner of communications, intrudes it into telephone messages, and insists on his friends writing down the title of the find. Like the simple-hearted betrothed, once certain of his conquest
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Everybody thinks of others as being excessively human, with all the frailties and crotchets appertaining to that curious condition. But each of us also seems to regard himself as existing on a detached plane of observation, exempt (save in moments of avid crisis) from the strange whims of humanity en masse.
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