A man may usually be known by the
books he reads as well as by the company he keeps; for there is a
companionship of books as well as of men; and one should always live in
the best company, whether it be of books or of men.
A good book may be among the best of
friends. It is the same today that it always was, and it will never
change. It is the most patient and cheerful of companions. It does not
turn its back upon us in times of adversity or distress. It always
receives us with the same kindness; amusing and instructing us in youth,
and comforting and consoling us in age.
Men often discover their affinity to
each other by the mutual love they have for a book just as two persons
sometimes discover a friend by the admiration which both entertain for a
third. There is an old proverb, ‘Love me, love my dog.” But there is
more wisdom in this:” Love me, love my book.” The book is a truer and
higher bond of union. Men can think, feel, and sympathize with each
other through their favorite author. They live in him together, and he
A good book is often the best urn of
a life enshrining the best that life could think out; for the world of a
man’s life is, for the most part, but the world of his thoughts. Thus
the best books are treasuries of good words, the golden thoughts, which,
remembered and cherished, become our constant companions and
Books possess an essence of
immortality. They are by far the most lasting products of human effort.
Temples and statues decay, but books survive. Time is of no account with
great thoughts, which are as fresh today as when they first passed
through their author’s minds, ages ago. What was then said and thought
still speaks to us as vividly as ever from the printed page. The only
effect of time have been to sift out the bad products; for nothing in
literature can long survive e but what is really good.
Books introduce us into the best
society; they bring us into the presence of the greatest minds that have
ever lived. We hear what they said and did; we see the as if they were
really alive; we sympathize with them, enjoy with them, grieve with
them; their experience becomes ours, and we feel as if we were in a
measure actors with them in the scenes which they describe.
The great and good do not die, even
in this world. Embalmed in books, their spirits walk abroad. The book is
a living voice. It is an intellect to which on still liste