Wilde Ones: Ten Quotes by Oscar Wilde on Books and Reading

He was known as the master of wit. And was literally a quote generator. Hey, when asked if he had anything to declare by a customs official, the man famously said “Nothing but my genius.” Yes, he might not have been everyone’s cup of tea with his absolute lack of fear of authority, but there was no doubting that Oscar Wilde had a way with words.

And like most authors, the man who gave us works like The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest had a healthy respect for and some rather scathy opinions on books and reading. Of course, he could not resist coating (pun intended) his quotes about them with his trademark wit and humour.

So if you are one of those who love to collect quotations about books and reading, here are ten of the “Wilde”st ones you will get to read:

There are only two kinds of books
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.”

Definitely not a one-time reader
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

Books (and readers) were better in the old days
“In the old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public. Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.”

Books build character? You bet!
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

Fiction explained simply and succinctly
“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Words are powerful..,very powerful
“Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps the worst. Words are merciless.”

For poets, a typo can make things verse…er….worse
“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.”

Well-behaved? Not the mind of a writer
“A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.”

‘Immoral’ books mirror the world
“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”One of the four best things in the world
“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?”

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