Welcome to A Good Read

which should lead on to a better life

Some bookish thoughts...

Why read a novel?

From The Harvad Business Review:

Some of the most valuable skills that managers look for in employees are often difficult to define, let alone evaluate or quantify: self-discipline, self-awareness, creative problem-solving, empathy, learning agility, adaptiveness, flexibility, positivity, rational judgment, generosity, and kindness, among others.

How can you tell if your future employees have these skills? And if your current team is lacking them, how do you teach them?

Recent research in neuroscience suggests that you might look to the library for solutions; reading literary fiction helps people develop empathy, theory of mind, and critical thinking.

When we read, we hone and strengthen several different cognitive muscles, so to speak, that are the root of the EQ [emotional intelligence].


Long ago, inscribed on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi was the maxim, “Know thyself.” Reading literature remains the surest means to do just that—to live the life Socrates declared the only one worth living: the examined life. After all, literature may simply be the creative expression of metaphysics and being: In some mysterious way, each life is every life, and all lives are one life—there is something of ourselves in each and every character we meet in the hallowed pages of a Great Book.

Ray Bradbury

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

'It's reading, isn't it?'

From Moab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry

[On his second year at Uppingham.]

There was a context: there were fifty boys in the House, they had their own lives too and we were all touched by the outside world and its current fads and fantasies.

In my first year I had Fawcett as a friend, and later, a boy called Jo Wood, with whom I was to share a study in my second year. Jo Wood was sound, sound as a bell. Solid, cynical, amused and occasionally amusing, he did not appear to be very intelligent, and unlike Richard Fawcett and me, seemed uninterested in words, ideas and the world.

But one day he said to me: ‘I’ve got it now. It’s reading isn’t it?’

‘I’m sorry?’

‘You read a lot, don’t you? That’s where it all comes from. Reading. Yeah, reading.’

The next time I saw him he had a Herman Hesse novel in his hands. I never saw him again without a book somewhere on his person. When I heard, some years later, that he had got into Cambridge I thought to myself, I know how that happened. He decided one day to read. He taught me a lot about the human will, Jo Wood. But more than that, he was a kind patient friend who had much to put up with in our second year when he had to share a study with a boy whose life had suddenly exploded into a million pieces.

J D Salinger

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.


When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.

Jorge Luis Borges

I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.

Groucho Marx

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

Emily Dickinson

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away.

Haruki Murakami

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading!

Alan Bennett

The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

Mark Twain

The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.

'Classic' – a book which people praise and don’t read.

John Steinbeck

I guess there are never enough books.