Spinach never made Popeye strong sitting in the can. William H. Gass
Anyone who looks with care into the good books shall find in them fine sentences of every length, on every imaginable subject, expressing the entire range of thoughts and feelings possible, in styles both as unified and various as the colors of the spectrum; and sentences that take such notice of the world that the world seems visible in their pages, palpable, too, so a reader might fear to touch those paragraphs concerned with conflagrations or disease or chicanery lest they be victimized, infected, or burned; yet such sentences as make the taste of sweet earth and fresh air – things that seem ordinarily without an odor or at all attractive to the tongue – as desirable as wine to sip or lip to kiss or bloom to smell
And many of these sentences the reader will wish to commit to memory in order to carry them about like a favorite tune, to hum and to encourage and guide them through bad moments, boring conversations, or bouts of insomnia.
Thinking produces its own endorphins, and encountering a fine thought is as thrilling as the sight of the bluebird, partly because both have been threatened with extinction.
They will not do us any good – the good books – no – if by good we mean good looks, good times, good shoes; yet they still offer us salvation, for salvation does not wait for the next life, which is anyhow a vain and incautious delusion, but is to be had, if at all, only here – in this one. It is we who must do them honor by searching for our truth there, by taking their heart as our heart, by refusing to let our mind flag so that we close their covers forever, and spend our future forgetting them, denying the mind’s best moments. – A temple of texts, William H. Gass