A Great Day For Book Lovers

Born 25 January 1874 – W. Somerset Maugham, English playwright and novelist. While “Of Human Bondage” is inarguably Maugham’s masterpiece, I recommend that everyone should also read “The Razor’s Edge,” since the novel will speak forcefully to people grown weary of living in a time when mindless consumerism, crackpot religion, and venomous politics have become cultural norms. No matter how old one might be, it is never too late to undertake the quest for a more meaningful existence.

Some quotes from the witty and uncommonly wise W. Somerset Maugham: 

“An unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones.”

“Any nation that thinks more of its ease and comfort than its freedom will soon lose its freedom; and the ironical thing about it is that it will lose its ease and comfort too.” 

“Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.”

“Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it.” 

“I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.”

“I’ll give you my opinion of the human race in a nutshell… their heart’s in the right place, but their head is a thoroughly inefficient organ.” 

“Impropriety is the soul of wit.”

“Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one’s mind.” 
“No egoism is so insufferable as that of the Christian with regard to his soul.” 
“Only a mediocre person is always at his best.”

“When you choose your friends, don’t be short-changed by choosing personality over character.” 

“The most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency.”

“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”

Born 25 January 1882 – Virginia Woolf, English author, essayist, and publisher. I think that both “Mrs. Dalloway” and “Orlando” are great novels, but from the time I first read it in graduate school, “To the Lighthouse” has been one of my favorite books. Every time I reread it, I find more to appreciate among its brilliantly crafted complexities. I am also very glad that “Mrs. Dalloway” served as the inspiration for Michael Cunningham’s wonderful novel “The Hours,” as well as for the movie adaptation featuring music by Philip Glass and starring two of my favorite actresses: Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. I think that Virginia Woolf would be pleased with both book and film.
Some quotes from Virginia Woolf:
“Language is wine upon the lips.”
“On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.”
“The beauty of the world, which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.”
“There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.”
“Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”
“Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.”

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