30 July 2016 ushered in a new beginning: the launch of the  National Reading Movement, a five-year campaign to build a nation of readers! 430,623 pledged to Read More, Read Widely and Read Together in the two months leading up to the launch day. These promises have materialised into various reading initiatives in companies and government agencies, including championing a good cause (see article). It has also manifested at  an individual level. Daily commute to work by train has never been so intriguing: one bears witness to little pockets of readers sitting down, completely engrossed in their books.  This 2017, let us look at what ten authors think of reading, trace their motivations and find inspiration to continue our own reading journeys.


“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

– J.K. Rowling


“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

– Haruki Murakami


“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

– Maya Angelo

“The books I loved in childhood – the first loves – I’ve read so often that I’ve internalised them in some really essential way: they are more inside me now than out.”

– Donna Tartt


“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”

– Alan Bennett

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

– F Scott Fitzgerald


“Pain is very often a maimed creature without a mouth. Through the agency of the poem that is powerful enough to clarifying feelings into facts, I am no longer dumb, not speechless, not lost. Language is a finding place, not a hiding place.”

– Jeanette Winterson


“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

– Nora Ephron


“The writer’s focus provides readers with insights into their society. To express the unexpressed, to say the unsaid, to give voice to those with no voice – this has always been one of literature’s many contributions. In literature, king or beggar, prime minister or dialect-speaking squatter, all are equal; all can take centre stage as the main character. No other school subject focuses on the individual or marginalised in the way literature does. This, in itself, is a moral force in a world in which numbers count, and wealth, power and intellect dominate.”

– Suchen Christine Lim


“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”

– William Styron

Did we omit any particular quote you feel strongly about or do you have something to say about reading? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

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