How to Read a Book

Adler, Mortimer J. and Charles Lincoln Van Doren

Simon and Schuster, 1972

p. 28

“If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it? Good God, we would also be happy if we had no books, and such books as make us happy we could, if need be, write ourselves. But what we must have are those books which come upon us like ill-fortune and distress us deeply, like the death of one we love better than ourselves, like suicide. A book must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen within us.”