70 Bookish Quotes to Inspire Your Creative Life

Discovering amazing bookish quotes has been one of the many highlights of being a bookstagrammer. If you post on social media regularly, then book quotes are likely to be part of your caption kit bag. They make us see the world from another perspective; they capture our experiences. In only a few words, authors constantly entertain, educate and inspire us. And what’s more, new insights are being created all the time. As long as we have writers, we’ll have a neverending stream of bookish quotes to enjoy.

To celebrate this little corner of the literary world, I’ve created some images of our favourite book quotes on this post. It was really hard to whittle them down, but I’ve chosen the ones that have had the most resonance in our lives and also added other bookish quotes from the same author.

Alice Hoffman

“Books may well be the only true magic.”

I love this book quote because it contains so much truth. Books have the ability to transport us to multiple viewpoints and destinations. They transform lives. (I don’t believe that they’re the only true magic though!)

Books may well be the only true magic words on a night sky

Other book quotes by Alice Hoffman

“That is the joy of reading fiction: when all is said and done, the novel belongs to the reader and his or her imagination.”

“Instead of going home, I drove to the library. To hell with human beings. I’d always felt safer with stories than with flesh and blood.”

“Know that the only remedy for love is to love more.”

“Are people drawn to each other because of the stories they carry inside?”

George R.R. Martin

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Only a thousand? If you read 50 books a year for 70 years, you’ll live 3500! But seriously, George R.R. Martin says it all here. Readers have experiences that non-readers can only dream of.

More book quotes by George R.R.Martin

“… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

“Sleep is good, he said, and books are better.”

“The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.”

“The only time a man can be brave is when he is afraid.”

Umberto Eco bookish quote

Umberto Eco

“I love the smell of book ink in the morning.”

I love the smell of book ink full stop! This bookish quote works for me on two levels. Firstly it’s a peace play on the famous Apocalypse Now quote and most importantly, it makes me dream of lazy reading days in bed.”

More book quotes by Umberto Eco

“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means…”

“To survive, you must tell stories.”

“But the purpose of a story is to teach and to please at once, and what it teaches is how to recognize the snares of the world.”

“The print does not always have the same shape as the body that impressed it, and it doesn’t always derive from the pressure of a body. At times it reproduces the impression a body has left in our mind: it is the print of an idea.”

 Toni Morrison

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Of all the writing quotes, I find this the most inspirational. If you can dream it, you can write it!

More book quotes by Toni Morrison

“Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”

“You are your best thing”

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

C.S. Lewis

“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

Do any of us seriously stop reading fairy tales? C.S.Lewis reminds us to connect with childhood wonder rather than push it away in many of his bookish quotes. This is where magic lies if we give it space.

Fairytale window with CS Lewis quote

More book quotes by C.S.Lewis

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”

“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”

Jane Austen

“but for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

Why is it that we always speed through the best books and the worst ones take ages? Sadly it appears that nothing has changed since Jane Austen’s time. If anyone can solve this frustrating problem, I’d be grateful.

Jane Austen Book Quote

More book quotes by Jane Austen

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.”

“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody. ”

Neil Gaiman

“Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.”

Clearly impossible, which leads us to…

More book quotes by Neil Gaiman

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.”

John Green

“I don’t have a favorite book. I have hundreds.”

Occasionally I’ll try to compile a list of favourite books and I never complete it so I’m totally with John on this.

More book quotes by John Green

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

“Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.”

“If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”

“You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.”

Fran Lebowitz

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”

I wish more people would follow this sage advice and not only read more, but read widely. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone took time to educate themselves and empathize with others.

Bookish Quote Fran Lebowitz

More book quotes by Fran Lebowitz

“A book is not supposed to be a mirror. It’s supposed to be a door.”

“Reading is better than life. Without reading, you’re stuck with life.”

“The best fame is a writer’s fame. It’s enough to get a table at a good restaurant, but not enough to get you interrupted when you eat.”

“I prefer dead writers because you don’t run into them at parties.”

Alice Walker

“If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.”

An essential question that every creative and reader needs to ask themselves.

More book quotes by Alice Walker

“A writer’s heart, a poet’s heart, an artist’s heart, a musician’s heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world…”

“we are the ones we have been waiting for”

“What you hope for, you also fear. ”

“Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence. ”

Franz Kafka

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

So many frozen seas to crack open, but luckily enough books to axe them with.

More book quotes by Franz Kafka

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”

“Books are a narcotic.”

“Paths are made by walking”

“All I am is literature, and I am not able or willing to be anything else.”

Virginia Woolf

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.”

When we read a book, we catch a glimpse of the author’s inner self. We might also see ourselves too. Woolf sums this up beautifully here.

More book quotes by Virginia Woolf

“I want to write a novel about Silence,” he said; “the things people don’t say.”

“anyone who’s worth anything reads just what he likes, as the mood takes him, and with extravagant enthusiasm.”

“And if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst, she would undoubtedly bid us break her and bully her, as well as honour and love her, for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured.”

“I like reading my own writing. It seems to fit me closer than it did before.”

Stephen King

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.”

Although some readers might dispute King’s assertion, this works for me. I like my books to have secrets right until the very end. And speaking of endings…

More book quotes by Stephen King

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

Margaret Atwood

“In the end, we’ll all become stories.”

What will your story be?

More book quotes by Margaret Atwood

“A word after a word after a word is power.”

“I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.”

“The Eskimo has fifty-names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love.”

“There’s the story, then there’s the real story, then there’s the story of how the story came to be told. Then there’s what you leave out of the story. Which is part of the story too.”

What Are Your Favourite Bookish Quotes?

Have I included any of your favourites here or do you wish I’d added different ones to the list. Please share your recommendations in the comments!

If you enjoyed this, you might also like:

9 Bookish Words for Bibliophiles

The Booksellers Documentary: An Essential Film for Booklovers


  1. June 9, 2020 / 10:52 am

    The top one is my all time favourite as I love Alice Hoffman and I have this one on my wall. xxx

    • thebookfamilyrogerson
      June 9, 2020 / 12:16 pm

      It’s a genius quote for many reasons and how lovely to have it on your wall! xxx

  2. June 10, 2020 / 10:00 am

    You’ve chosen really interesting quotes here. I especially like the one from Fran Lebowitz and I agree so much with it.

    • thebookfamilyrogerson
      June 10, 2020 / 7:11 pm

      You don’t often see the Fran Lebowitz quote which is a shame as it holds a lot of power, especially now. I’m glad you enjoyed these!

  3. October 13, 2020 / 10:50 am

    Thanks so much, for this wonderful book quotes.

    My favorite quote is “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”

    • thebookfamilyrogerson
      October 14, 2020 / 7:50 pm

      Love that quote! Thank you for sharing it with us 🙂

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