10 Great Quotes for International Literacy Day

Today is International Literacy Day! What better time, then, to celebrate some of the wisest, wittiest, pithiest, silliest, and most profound things that writers have ever said about literature and reading? The following are 10 of our personal favourites from the last 21 months of Interesting Literature. These quotes (sorry, we should say quotations, we suppose, as it’s International Literacy Day) cover many aspects of reading from very different writers.

If you enjoy these quotations, check out these interesting facts about reading which we’ve compiled for International Literacy Day 2015! And before we begin, we’d like to share our favourite book-related word: bibliosmia, denoting the smell of books…

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’

– George R. R. Martin

Parents should leave books lying around marked ‘forbidden’ if they want their children to read.

– Doris Lessing

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

– P. G. Wodehouse

Cat with book

There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.

– Charles Dickens

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.

– Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

One always tends to overpraise a long book, because one has got through it.

– E. M. Forster

All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet.

– Henry Miller


Poetry is not the most important thing in life. I’d much rather lie in a hot bath reading Agatha Christie and sucking sweets.

– Dylan Thomas

To expect a man to retain everything that he has ever read is like expecting him to carry about in his body everything that he has ever eaten.

– Arthur Schopenhauer

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

– Virginia Woolf

If you enjoyed these quotations, continue your odyssey into the world of literacy and language with our collection of fascinating word facts.

Image (top): Cat with book (author: Eden, Janine and Jim), labelled for reuse; image (bottom): Portrait of Oscar Wilde, author unknown, public domain.


  1. Pingback: 15 Great Facts about Reading for International Literacy Day | Interesting Literature

  2. I can read a Christie-length mystery in one hot bath … my preferred way to spend a coolish fall or winter evening.

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  4. I love the Doris Lessing quote. I hadn’t heard that one.

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  7. Reblogged this on My Niche in Time.

  8. Great quotes!

  9. Reblogged this on the artisanal grill and commented:
    Finishing a good book is more satisfying than finishing a good bottle of wine. You can always read a book again. You can’t re-drink the wine. Thanks for the great post.

  10. Thank you! Thank you!! So dear to my heart!

  11. that first one by Martin really blew me away

  12. Really enjoyed this post. Reaffirming my love for Ms. Woolf every day x x

  13. These quotes brightened up my day. Thanks.

  14. Simply put, thanks.

  15. Doris Lessing understood the allure of the forbidden.

  16. This was fantastic! Bravo.

  17. Great compilation!

  18. Reblogged this on Sleepy Book Dragon and commented:
    Perfect quotes for today!

  19. Reblogged this on The English Professor at Large and commented:
    Reading can take you anywhere on a magic carpet of words. This is reblogged from InterstingLiterature.

  20. Thank you . I’m going to reblog.

  21. Thank you for posting this. Loved it so much I reblogged!

  22. Reblogged this on Rebecca Trogner Blog and commented:
    Great quotes for International Literacy Day

  23. Great reminder thank you, that something that all of us who can read and write usually take for granted. Millions around the world do not have this gift and struggle with overcoming challenges they face in our modern and technical world.

  24. I love George R.R. Marthin’s quotation.

  25. What inspirational quotes for International Literacy Day. Thanks for sharing.

  26. that is an awesome post! thanks so much!

  27. Reblogged this on A Pilgrim in Narnia and commented:
    Some Inspiration for International Literacy Day!

  28. Loved the Henry Miller one about the toilet!