books are to mankind what memory is to the individual.
they contain the history of our race, the discoveries we have made,
the accumulated knowledge and experience of ages;
they picture for us the miracles and beauties of nature, help us in our difficulties,
comfort us in sorrow and in suffering, change hours of weariness into moments of delight,
store our minds with ideas, fill them with good and happy thoughts,
and lift us out of and above ourselves.
many of those who have had, as we say, all that this world can give,
have yet told us they owed much of their purest happiness to books.
macaulay had wealth and fame, rank and power,
and yet he tells us in his biography that he owed the happiest hours of his life to books.
he says, “if any one would make me the greatest king that ever lived,
with palaces and gardens and fine dinners, and wines and coaches, and beautiful clothes,
and hundreds of servants, on condition that i should not read books,
i would not be a king;