Books are Treasuries of Knowledge and Wisdom
Ruskin called books “King’s Treasuries”. What he meant was, that as Kings keep money, gold, silver and precious stones locked up in their treasure-houses, so there are great riches locked up in books; but the riches in books are not gold and silver, but wisdom and knowledge, which are more precious than money.
Kings keep their treasure-houses locked up and keep the keys themselves, but anyone who likes can have the key that will open the treasure-houses of wisdom and knowledge. “Arabian Nights” has a story, called “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in which the only way to open the robbers’ cave, which was full of wealth, was the magic word, “Open Sesame”. The magic word, or the key, that opens books, is reading: and anyone who can read, can go in and take as much knowledge and wisdom as he can find.
If someone gave us a key and told us that we could go to the treasure-house and take as much gold as we wanted how you would run! Yet boys at school think that learning to read is a great burden; and when they can read, very few of them read a book for the love of it. All about them are rich storehouses of wisdom and knowledge to which they have the keys, and yet they do not trouble to open the doors.
A wise man said, “Of the making of books there is no end.” There are millions of books in the world, and thousands of new books come out every year. No one can hope ever to read all these books, nor the thousandth part of them. However hard we read, we can read only a few. So we must be careful to choose only really good books: for there are bad books, silly books, and useless books, as well as books really worth reading. When we begin to read, we should get some teacher or wise friend to tell us which books are the best to read. We may read good novels; but most of our reading should be serious history, travels, lives of great men, poetry, science, and books of religious thought.
“If we get into the habit of reading when we are young, we shall be thankful for it all our lives. For reading gives a man great pleasure, trains his mind, makes him think, and teaches him much.