human inventions

“The Reader (Young Woman Reading a Book)” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919) French Impressionist Painter
“The Reader (Young Woman Reading a Book)” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
~ Carl Sagan
(Cosmos: The Persistence of Memory)

12 thoughts on “human inventions”

    1. You’re welcome, Laurie! I was looking for something else and found it on GoodReads – it’s from the original Cosmos documentary.

  1. Great quote. I’ve never been a “good” reader. Ashamed to say that a year could go by without my reading a book. Yes. You read that correctly. So this year I pledged to try to start reading. (I have trouble “tracking” as I read and tire quickly). My goal was to read a book. Light, fluff. Nothing deep. Science Fiction maybe or Fantasy. I wouldn’t turn on my computer till late day and would read a page or two with my breakfast toast. I am happy to report that I have read at least 15 books so far this year ! After I read “The Hobbit”, I decided I’d tackle “The Lord of the Rings”. I’m over half way through the first book and enjoying it (though he does get overly descriptive and wordy at times). Feeling rather chuffed with myself.

    1. Thanks, Sybil. I suppose we all go through spells in our lives when we don’t read as much as we think we should or as much as we want to. My father said reading to study for all his college degrees had turned him off to reading. But in his old age when he suffered from dementia, he started reading again!

      I’ve always been an avid reader and I started to read “The Hobbitt” when I was a teenager because my grandfather loved Tolkien so much, but I couldn’t finish it because it seemed so compressed and thick with words. My morning ritual (the cat gets me up between 5-6 am) after breakfast is to sit in the sunlight and read until my husband wakes up.

      Congratulations, Sybil! You should be pleased with yourself – I don’t think Tolkien can be considered light reading! Maybe I should dust off the old trilogy and try again!

  2. I’ve always loved to read. Once I got so engrossed in a book I forgot to return to work after my lunch hour! I now have an ebook which I scoffed at for a while, but now I use it all the time. Still love real books! Jane

    1. It’s wonderful to be so engrossed in a book, transported to another time and place! Hope you didn’t get in too much trouble at work!

      I read real books in the morning with my reading glasses on. And I read my Kindle at bedtime, in the dark and on the large print setting. That way when I start to drift off to sleep I don’t have to reach over and turn out the light or take off my glasses. 🙂

    1. You’re so very welcome, Diane! I’m happy you enjoyed the quote and the painting – it’s always fun doing the pairing. 🙂

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