Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Metaphors: Six Ideas and Counting

What is a book to you, metaphorically speaking?

Others have weighed in on the subject, as evidenced by the following six quotes:

1. "Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life." --Jesse Lee Bennett

2. "Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time." --E.P. Whipple

3. "A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of  counselors." --Henry Ward Beecher

4. "Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind."--James Russell Lowell

5. "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." --Charles W. Eliot

6. "Books are a uniquely portable magic." --Stephen King

Six quotes turn into fifteen metaphors: compass, telescope, sextant, chart, lighthouse, garden, orchard, storehouse, party, company, counselor, bee, friend, teachermagic.

But we don't have to stop there. We're writers--how about making up a few of our own?

Photos courtesy of
My contribution: "a book is a ticket." A ticket to worlds and stories, places and things, ideas, insights, and imagination. A ticket to colors and wonder, images and emotions, mystery, heart tugs and promise. A ticket to the tapestries and threads of history and humanity--and to hope.

Would love to hear your ideas. How would you describe a book, metaphorically speaking?


  1. Like all the descriptions especially the Stephen King one.

  2. Thanks, Rachna :-) I like that one, too...

  3. Interesting challenge. I've been thinking about it for a couple of days.

    For a reader, I think a book is a kind of hideaway, a place where I can get away from everything for a while. For a writer, a book is more than that. I can't just GO to that hideaway, I have to CREATE it first.

    I like metaphors. I expect I'll think some more about this one. :)

  4. For me a book is like a portal to another world, traveling through time or space or both. But I loved James Russell Lowell's metaphor.

  5. "Hideaway" and "portal"--two more great metaphors for books :-) Thanks, Peggy and Elizabeth. The list grows!

  6. I love this post!!! Books are so many things to me - my first reaction is to pick friend or magic. Oh, I just thought of a good metaphor - a portal! Love these quotes. I'm tweeting this...

  7. For certain pieces of literature, novels can be a like an abstract piece of art. Everyone can have their own interpretation of what it is to be learned from it, or what the author was trying to capture.

  8. For me a good book is a transportation to a world filled with secrets that are not being let out at once but piece by piece. That's just makes me desire for more of the book. Makes me continue reading

  9. Really love the Stephen King one

  10. A book is a portal into another being's mind, to be used by those whose own lives seem dull and in need of some mischief.

  11. a book is a hide-and-seek, a game played by writer and reader

  12. i like the book is a ticket