I don't believe any of you have ever read Paradise Lost and you don't want to. That's something that you just want to take on trust. It's a classic... something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
- "Disappearance of Literature" speech
I do not read anything but history and biography. You perceive that for me to presume to indicate the hundred authors which a person ought to read, would be folly. No, leave me out: My testimony would not be valuable.
- letter to Joseph B. Gilder, 5/16/1886
It is so unsatisfactory to read a noble passage and have no one you love at hand to share the happiness with you. And it is unsatisfactory to read to one's self anyhow--for the uttered voice so heightens the expression.
- My Father Mark Twain, Clara Clemens
Don't explain your author, read him right and he explains himself.
- Letter to Cordelia Welsh Foote of Cincinnati, 12/2/1887. Reprinted in When Huck Finn Went Highbrow, DeCasseres
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
However, a subsequent researcher reports finding the quote in a newspaper, The Chicago Heights Star, Chicago, Illinois, 1 Feb 1949, as a stand alone quote attributed to Mark Twain. This places it much earlier than "Dear Abby," but with no acceptable confirmation of source.