Who said: "Read the best books first..."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all." - Henry David Thoreau

Henry David ThoreauThoreau's words are even more relevant today than they were in his time. According to So Many Books, the cumulative bibliography of the world was about 3.3 million titles in 1850 - around the time Thoreau wrote this; today it is more than 60 million!

Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He began his lifelong habit of journal keeping while at Harvard. After graduating in 1837 he taught briefly but resigned to protest the use of corporal punishment on the students, specifically whippings.

Shortly afterwards, he and his brother, John Thoreau, opened a private school in Concord based on Transcendentalism (the popular literary and philosophical movement that asserted the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material and empirical, and apparently grew from a desire to create an uniquely American body of literature and philosophy to mirror the independence that America had enjoyed politically since 1776).

The school was closed when John fell ill (and later died) and Thoreau moved in with Ralph Waldo Emerson (one of the founders of Transcendentalism), where he continued writing his journals.

Although some of his work was published during his lifetime, such as Walden, Or Life In the Woods (1854), he was little known outside his immediate circle. Most of his writing was not published until after his death in 1862; and his reputation as a major literary figure was not established until the 20th century.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...
  • Book Jacket: Dinner with Edward
    Dinner with Edward
    by Isabel Vincent
    In late 2009 Isabel Vincent and her family were still newcomers to New York City. She and her ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!