Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Franz Kafka Quote About Books

Franz Kafka
Well, if I did not know any better, I would think that I was avoiding my Well-Educated Mind questions for The Trial by Franz Kafka.  However, I am just really super distracted by life right now, so I have not answered them at all.  I did read some "Fragments," but they did not add anything for me; preferably I like the story right where it ends, as brutal as it is.  

Anyway, I found a really great quote by Kafka in my research of him, and I wanted to share it:

"Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn't shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we'd be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. 
What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe." - Franz Kafka (


  1. Good quote - it helps me understand him a little better. But I must confess that I prefer "happy" books. I had a hard time with the questions for this book.

    1. Have you noticed that the closer we get to our own time period, the more depressing some of these novels get? I wonder what that says about our civilization.