Who said: "To make a library it takes two volumes and a fire. Two volumes and a fire, and interest. The interest alone will do if logs are few."

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

To make a library
It takes two volumes
And a fire.
Two volumes and a fire,
And interest.
The interest alone will do
If logs are few.

- Carolyn Wells (The Rest of My Life)

American poet and author Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) penned more than 170 books including her biography, The Rest of My Life. After leaving school she worked as a librarian in her hometown of Rahway, New York for twelve years until becoming sufficiently successful as a writer that she was able to resign to focus on her literary career. She started out writing poetry, humor and children's books, but soon gravitated towards mysteries, producing a great many, including more than 60 books in the Fleming Stone Detective series.

Today, she is probably best known for her humorous poems, including many lymericks, such as:

The Tutor

A tutor who tooted a flute
Tried to teach two young tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor:
"Is it harder to toot, or
To tutor two tooters to toot?"


The Arch Armadillo

There once was an arch Armadillo
Who built him a hut 'neath a willow;
He hadn't a bed
So he rested his head
On a young Porcupine for a pillow.


The Happy Hyena

There once was a happy Hyena
Who played on an old concertina.
He dressed very well,
And in his lapel
He carelessly stuck a verbena.


The Musical Carp

There once was a corpulent carp
Who wanted to play on a harp,
But to his chagrin
So short was his fin
That he couldn't reach up to C sharp.


The Smiling Shark

There was an old Shark with a smile
So broad you could see it a mile.
He said to his friends,
As he sewed up the ends,
"It was really too wide for the style."


The Butter Betty Bought

Betty Botta bought some butter;
"But," said she, "this butter's bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o' better butter
Will but make my batter better."
Then she bought a bit o' butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So 'twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o' better butter.


A Bicycle Built for Two


There was an ambitious young eel
Who determined to ride on a wheel;
But try as he might,
He couldn't ride right,
In spite of his ardor and zeal.

If he sat on the saddle to ride
His tail only pedalled one side;
And I'm sure you'll admit
That an eel couldn't sit
On a bicycle saddle astride.

Or if he hung over the top,
He could go, but he never could stop;
For of course it is clear
He had no way to steer,
And under the wheel he would flop.

His neighbor, observing the fun,
Said, "I think that the thing can be done,
If you'll listen to me,
You'll quickly agree
That two heads are better than one.

"And this is my project, old chap,
Around our two waists I will wrap
This beautiful belt
Of bottle-green felt
And fasten it firm with a strap."

This done, with a dignified mien
The two squirmed up on the machine,
And rode gayly away,
Or at least, so they say,
Who witnessed the wonderful scene.

More Quotes

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

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

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.