A man may usually be known by the books he reads as well as by the company① he keeps; for there is a companionship of books as well as of men; and one should always live in the best company, whether it be of books or of men.
A good book may be among the best of friends.It is the same today that it always was, and it will never change. It is the most patient and cheerful of companions. It does not turn its back upon us in times of adversity② or distress. It always receives us with the same kindness，amusing and instructing us in youth, and comforting and consoling us in age.
Books introduce us into the best society; they bring us into the presence of the greatest minds that have ever lived. We hear what they said and did; we see them as if they were really alive; we sympathize ③with them, enjoy with them; their experience becomes ours, and we feel as if we were in a measure actors with them in the scenes which they describe.
The great and good do not die even in this world. Embalmed④ in books, their spirits walk abroad. The book is a living voice. It is an intellect to which one still listens.