Yet who reads to bring about an end however desirable? Are there not some pursuits that we practise because they are good in themselves, and some pleasures that are final? And is not this among them? I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards — their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble — the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, "Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading." ~Virginia Woolf (1882–1941), "How Should One Read a Book?," The Second Common Reader, 1932
This old fellow is Mac, the bookworm, called Worm for short. ~Louisa May Alcott, Eight Cousins; or, The Aunt-Hill, 1874
I suspect the real attraction was a large library of fine books, which was left to dust and spiders since Uncle March died. Jo remembered the kind old gentleman, who used to let her build railroads and bridges with his big dictionaries and tell her stories about the queer pictures in his Latin books. The dim, dusty room, with the busts staring down from the tall book-cases, the cosy chairs, the globes, and, best of all, the wilderness of books, in which she could wander where she liked, made the library a region of bliss to her. Jo, in this quiet place, would curl herself up in the easy-chair and devour poetry, romance, history, travels, and pictures, like a regular book-worm. ~Louisa May Alcott, "Burdens," Little Women, 1868 [a little altered —tg]
Let there remain a tribe of book-worms still; and Heaven forbid that the classics should fall into contempt! ~Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, 1834
She's a real bookworm. I think she lives on print. Her whole house is full of books — looks as if she likes them better than human company. ~Cornelia Funke, Inkheart, 2003, translated from the German by Anthea Bell
Reading, listening, talking, travel, leisure — many different things it seems are mixed together. Life and books must be shaken and taken in the right proportions. A boy brought up alone in a library turns into a book worm; brought up alone in the fields he turns into an earth worm. To breed the kind of butterfly a writer is you must let him sun himself for three or four years at university. ~Virginia Woolf, "The Leaning Tower," 1940 [a little altered —tg]
He was a tall old man, bowed with a scholar's stoop, and never seen without his silver-rimmed spectacles. He had been glad to find a place where he might live the life of a recluse among his books. As he sat now, his white wig falling in lovelocks about his face, he drummed with taper fingers upon the little round stand beside him, where a musty volume lay at his elbow. He was a bookworm first, and everything else afterward, and he longed to be back in his study where he had been engaged for many years upon a neverending commentary upon Homer. ~Florence Bone (1875–1971), The Morning of To-Day, 1907 [a little altered —tg]
My spirit animal is a bookworm. ~Terri Guillemets, “Mircea of ’97,” 2006
Her bookish father's large and very miscellaneous library was the handsomest room in the house. It was up thirty slight, narrow, crooked, twisting stairs and was well stocked, as he jocosely expressed it, with dead men's brains. It was with a perfection of seclusion which many a professional bookworm might have envied, that Mary King passed the greater part of her life, in reading every book that she could get hold of. Nor was their own the only library to which she had free access. At the cheap rate of being called "the oddest girl that ever lived," she obtained the privilege of borrowing books wherever she could find them. The amount of her reading was considerably greater than any mere ordinary observer would conceive possible. ~Frances Milton Trollope, Mrs. Mathews; or, Family Mysteries, 1851 [a little altered —tg]
Time-eaten, like his books, and worn
With teen and strong endeavour,
Pure heart, flame burning ever,
Whence lofty thought and verse were born,
With lamp-lit toil he met the morn.
And wealth bequeathed by ages old
Stood round him piled, enshelved,
Wherein he nightly delved,
Nor paused when grey was smitten gold…
~J. J. Britton (1832–1913), "A Bookworm," A Sheaf of Ballads, 1884
I do not wish to be misunderstood or to do any wrong to the bookworm, a class to whom I feel most kindly. They generally spend their years and money in the endeavor to climb as high as possible on the ladder of mental perfection, and they out not to be ridiculed, as they often are. They may appear a dry class of people to the convivial nature of our modern jeunesse dorée, who spend their leisure hours and spare cash… in company with something livelier than a set of black-letter prints, but still they are a class most venerable and highly appreciable. ~Gustav Boehm, "A Discourse on Title Page Composition," in The Inland Printer, 1886
I am a bookworm, old and crusty,
Thro' midnight hours my pen I ply.
Be there an ancient parchment dusty,
The man to wipe that dust, is I.
~Gilbert à Beckett (1837–1891), Three Tenants: A Petite Musical Comedy [Mr. Grope, a Gentleman in search of quiet —tg]
J. Aleksandr Wootton is an author, poet, and bookworm (in the Tolkienic meaning of ‘worm’ as ‘dragon’ — he hoards books in shelves and spare rooms and likes to sleep surrounded by them). ~J. Aleksandr Wootton, JackWootton.com, 2017
In the charming romance "Realmah," the noble African prince prescribes monogamy to his subjects, but he allows himself three wives — a State wife to sit by his side on the throne; a Household wife to rule the kitchen and homely affairs; and a Love-wife to be cherished in his heart and bear him children. Why would it not be fair to the Book-Worm to concede him a Book-wife, who should understand and sympathize with him in his eccentricity, and who should care more for rare and beautiful books than for diamonds, laces, Easter bonnets and ten-button gloves?… A woman who has a true and wise sympathy with her husband's book-buying is an adored object. ~Irving Browne, "Women as Collectors," In the Track of the Bookworm: Thoughts, Fancies, and Gentle Gibes on Collecting and Collectors, by One of Them, 1897 [a little altered —tg]
There are bookworms who prop a book up in front of them, as they nibble; and we are all familiar with the sociable party who eats breakfast and hides behind the morning paper at the same time. These are merely individual preferences, but if art in the mass is to be fired at people as they dine, then by all means let some one read aloud from the Essay on Silence. ~Elbert Hubbard, The Fra, October 1912
The bookworm had intellectual gifts —
wise, vast, and blazing bliss philosophized.
~Terri Guillemets, 2014, blackout poetry created from Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850, page 69
I feel no need of nature's flowers—
Of flowers of rhetoric I have store;
I do not miss the balmy showers—
When books are dry I o'er them pore…
Why should I scratch my precious skin
By crawling through a hawthorn hedge,
When Hawthorne, raking up my sin,
Stands tempting on the nearest ledge?
~Irving Browne (1835–1899), "The Bookworm Does Not Care For Nature" [Hey now! This bookworm here, she loves nature. —tg]
The notes he writ were barely dry…
Checked at the leaf where Death—
The final commentator—thrust
His cold "Here endeth Dryasdust."
The face of men, he nowise knew,
Or careless turned from these
To delve, in folios' rust and must…
And so, with none to close his eyes,
And none to mourn him dead,
He in his dumb book-Babel lies
With grey dust garmented.
Let be: pass on. It is but just…
Write his Hic Jacet in the Dust.
~Austin Dobson (1840–1921), "The Bookworm" [The Latin phrase means epitaph, literally "here lies." —tg]