It is not only loneliness that seafarers have to endure. Away from their families, the shopping malls and their favourite watering holes, they often have to deal with boredom. There is really little to do on board a ship after one’s watch is over. What better way to spend those idle hours than to read a good book?

The following quotes speak of the joy of reading. I trust that they will inspire seafarers to cultivate a love for books, which is becoming rarer these days because of social media, mobile games and malls.

Books are the friends of solitude. They develop individuality and freedom. In solitary reading a man who is seeking himself has some chance of finding himself. 

~ Georges Duhamel, In Defense of Letters 

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.

~ Charles William Eliot, “The Happy Life”, The Durable Satisfactions of Life 

The first time I read an excellent book, it is to me just as if I had gained a new friend. When I read over a book I have perused before, it resembles the meeting with an old one.

~ Oliver Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World, Letter LXXXIII

Reading at the Beach, circa 1912, by Walter Granville-Smith (American, 1870–1938)

Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed.

~ Joseph Addison, The Tatler

Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.

~ Francis Bacon, Essays 

He hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts.

~illiam Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

Drie boeken (Three books), 1887, by Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)

All that Mankind has done, thought, gained or been it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of Books. They are the chosen possession of men.

~ Thomas Carlyle, Heroes and Hero Worship 

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul.

~ Emily Dickinson, A Book

Marine Café Blog has a number of sea novels and other books for seafarers to download and enjoy. Click here. More titles will be added as part of our efforts to promote the love for reading amongst mariners.

~ Barista Uno


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