Franz Kafka on Reading

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we…

What an astonishing thing a book is…

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly…

At some point in reading…

“At some point in reading, we realize we have to read not just the books that we’d enjoy, but the books that move us, touch us, those that break us and hurt us, those which remind us that we will always be the ignorant of this life. We have to read the books that make…

It is a writer’s greatest pleasure…

“By now, it is probably very late at night, and you have stayed up to read this book when you should have gone to sleep. If this is the case, then I commend you for falling into my trap. It is a writer’s greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy…