Alan Bennett

«Can there be any greater pleasure than to come across an author one enjoys and then to find they have written not just one book or two, but at least a dozen?»

Alan Bennett


«...to her all books were the same and, as with her subjects, she felt a duty to approach them without prejudice...Lauren Bacall, Winifred Holtby, Sylvia Plath - who were they? Only be reading could she find out.»

Alan Bennett


«Archbishop. Why do I never read the lesson?”»

Alan Bennett


«I'm not "happy" but I'm not unhappy about it.»

Alan Bennett


«A book is a device to ignite the imagination.»

Alan Bennett


«The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.»

Alan Bennett


«[B]riefing is not reading. In fact it is the antithesis of reading. Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.»

Alan Bennett


«The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included. Literature, she thought, is a commonwealth; letters a republic.»

Alan Bennett


«One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.»

Alan Bennett


«Books are not about passing the time. They're about other lives. Other worlds.»

Alan Bennett


«I think of literature - she wrote - as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but cannot possibly reach. And I have started too late. I will never catch up.»

Alan Bennett


«One recipe for happiness is to have to sense of entitlement.' To this she added a star and noted at the bottom of the page: 'This is not a lesson I have ever been in a position to learn.»

Alan Bennett


«The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.»

Alan Bennett


«History is just one fucking thing after another.»

Alan Bennett


«It's subjunctive history. You know, the subjunctive? The mood used when something may or may not have happened. When it is imagined.»

Alan Bennett


«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


«You don't put your life into your books, you find it there.»

Alan Bennett


«. . . there was little to choose between Jews and Catholics. The Jews had holidays that turned up out of the blue and the Catholics had children in much the same way.»

Alan Bennett


«Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. Good-looking people marry good-looking people and the others take what's left.»

Alan Bennett


«I libri non sono un passatempo. Parlano di altre vite. Di altri mondi. Altro che far passare il tempo, Sir Kevin; non so cosa darei per averne di più.»

Alan Bennett


«Still, though reading absorbed her, what the Queen had not expected was the degree to which it drained her of enthusiasm for anything else.»

Alan Bennett