In me, by myself, without human relationship, there are no visible lies. The limited circle is pure.
–Franz Kafka, August 30, 1913
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? …we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
– Franz Kafka, Letter to Oskar Pollak