Average number of books read per year by country
Reading and GDP
Share of readers by country
Withdrawn to this solitary place,
With a few but learned books,
I live conversing with the dead,
listening to them with my eyes.
Open always, if not always understood,
they amend, they enrich my affairs:
in rhythms of contrapuntal silence,
awakened, they speak to the dream of life.
O Don José, for those great souls
absconded by death, the learnéd
press avenges time’s slanders.
In irrevocable flight the hour flees;
but it can be counted fortunate
when we better ourselves by reading.1
(1639, Francisco de Quevedo)
aquella que no detiene el tiempo;
más, dejándolo pasar, lo aprovecha.
Translated by Christopher Johnson ↩︎