"Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading does not shake us awake like a blow on 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, at a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like the most painful misfortune … that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods … a book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe."