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Shelf Life, an Encouragement to Read

Following on from the previous post on reading, let me strongly recommend a little book by George and Karen Grant entitled Shelf Life: How Books Have Changed the Destinies and Desires of Men and Nations . This book is not a sustained treatise on the need for reading but a reflection on the value and enjoyment of reading. It includes various thoughts from the Grants on what they have done in their family to encourage reading, brief looks at historical figures who loved books and (perhaps most significantly) many, many quotes from various authors on various aspects of the value of books.

For the good of the church, indeed for the good of civilization in general, we need to return to being a reading people. This book can serve as an unassuming resource to that end and can provide useful quotes in encouraging others in reading. I have amassed seven pages of quotes from the book, but here are a few of my favorites:

“It is an old and healthy tradition that each home where the light of godliness shone should have its own bookshelf. Blessed is the man or woman who has inherited such a cultural and spiritual bequest.”
-John MacLeod (1872-1948)

“A well-read people are easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but difficult to enslave.”
-Baron Henry Broughman (1778-1868)

“Perhaps the greatest gift any father can bestow upon his children, apart from the covenant blessings of parish life and a comprehension of the doctrines of grace, is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives a knowledge of the world, and it offers experience of a wide kind. Indeed, it is nothing less than a moral illumination.”
-Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847)

I have posted some other quotes at The Children’s Hour, my blog on children’s books.

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