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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Library Of Wisdom

come, and take choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow

the only jewel which you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom



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Jules Henri Poincare: "The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living."

Eleanor Roosevelt: "This life [is] a continuing process of education and development. What we are preparing for, none of us can be sure. But, that we must do our best while we are here, and develop all our capacities, is absolutely certain. We face whatever we have to face in this life, and if we do it bravely and sincerely, we're probably accomplishing that growth which we were put here to accomplish."

Thomas Huxley: "The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence. Science is simply common sense at its best - that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic."

Charles Darwin: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."

Somerset Maugham: "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from ... the miseries of life."

Jan Morris: “Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence.”        

John Greenleaf Whittier: “The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.”

Dante Alighieri, The Comedy: “O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall? … Consider your origin. You were not formed to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge.”

Paul Sweeney: “You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”

William Styron: “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You should live several lives while reading it.”

Plato: “An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”

Plato: “Writing is the geometry of the soul.”

Owen Meredith: “It is, however, not to the museum, or the lecture-room, or the drawing-school, but to the library, that we must go for the completion of our humanity. It is books that bear from age to age the intellectual wealth of the world.

J. A. Langford: “The only true equalisers in the world are books; the only treasure-house open to all comers is a library; the only wealth which will not decay is knowledge; the only jewel which you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom.”

Augustine Birrell: “The man who has a library of his own collection is able to contemplate himself objectively, and is justified in believing in his own existence.”

John Bright: “What is a great love of books? It is something like a personal introduction to the great and good men of all past times. Books, it is true, are silent as you see them on their shelves; but, silent as they are, when I enter a library I feel as if almost the dead were present, and I know if I put questions to these books they will answer me with all the faithfulness and fullness which has been left in them by the great men who have left the books with us.”

William Shakespeare: “Come, and take choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow.”

James Crossley: “It is impossible to enter a large library... without feeling an inward sensation of reverence, and without catching some sparks of noble emulation, from the mass of mind which is scattered around you.”

Harry A. Overstreet: “If minds are truly alive they will seek out [a library of books, for such is] the human race recounting its memorable experiences, confronting its problems, searching for solutions, drawing the blueprints of its futures.”

Thomas Carlyle: “All that mankind has done, though, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.”

Clarence Day: “The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the heart of men centuries dead.”

John Steinbeck: “I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now -- only that place where the books are kept.”

Ross MacDonald: “The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world of disasters.”

Theodore Parker: “The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is by easy reading: but a great book that comes from a great thinker -- it is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and with beauty.”

George William Curtis: “Books are the ever burning lamps of accumulated wisdom.”

Descartes: “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.”

Philip Gilbert Hamilton: “All that we have read and learned, all that has occupied and interested us in the thoughts and deeds of men abler or wiser than ourselves, constitutes at last a spiritual society of which we can never be deprived, for it rests in the heart and soul of the man who has acquired it.”

Bishop Potter: “People will not be better than the books they read.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson: “If we encounter a man of great intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

Mary B. W. Tabor: “One sure window into a person's soul is his reading list.”

Seneca: “You must linger among a limited number of master-thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.”

Voltaire: “It is with books as it is with men -- a very small number play a great part; the rest are lost in the multitude.”

Wentworth Dillon: “Choose an author as you would a friend.”

George Gilfillan: “Let us read thoughtfully; this is a great secret in the right use of books.”

Latin Proverb: “Indiscriminate reading is unprofitable to the mind.”

Joineriana: “Books like friends, should be few and well-chosen. Like friends, too, we should return to them again and again – for, like true friends, they will never fail us -- never cease to instruct -- never cloy.”

George MacDonald: “As you grow ready for it, somewhere or other you will find what is needful for you in a book.”

Benjamin Disraeli: “As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go into your library and read every book.”

Walt Whitman: “The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.”

Alfred Whitney Griswold: “In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “The style of an author is a faithful copy of his mind.”


the only jewel which you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom

Editor's last word:

John Steinbeck: “I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now -- only that place where the books are kept.”

Like Steinbeck, I’ve moved too much in my life. For this reason, as mentioned in my writings, I hope to put down roots in Summerland and strictly eschew any notion of “moving up” to so-called better worlds. I very much like Steinbeck’s definition of home – the “place where the books are kept.”

When I saw his words I said to myself, “yes, of course, where the books are kept.” I hadn’t thought of it before, but I should have – my farmhouse living-room in Summerland needs to be outfitted with a small library of books and artwork featuring the great ideas of history. Even the thought of this helps me breathe more easily.

William Shakespeare: “Come, and take choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow.”


Currier & Ives, Home for Thanksgiving