Lewis: Books at ten and at fifty

No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.

Attr. (correctly) to C. S. Lewis.

A friend asked me about this one on Facebook. It has the ring of authenticity to it, and like most authentic quotes (though not all) it only took a few minutes to verify. It’s from his essay “On Stories.” Full context:

It is usual to speak in a playfully apologetic tone about one’s adult enjoyment of what are called ‘children’s books’. I think the convention a silly one. No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty–except, of course, books of information. The only imaginative works we ought to grow out of are those which it would have been better not to have read at all. A mature palate will probably not much care for crême de menthe: but it ought still to enjoy bread and butter and honey.

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