Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman
"Jean Louise grinned. Her father said it took at least five years to learn law after one left law school: one practiced economy for two years, learned Alabama Pleading for two more, reread the Bible and Shakespeare for the fifth. Then one was fully equipped to hold on under any conditions."
Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
“Mother, I am young. Mother, I am just eighteen. I am strong. I will work hard, Mother. But I do not want this child to grow up just to work hard. What must I do, Mother, what must I do to make a different world for her? How do I start?”
“The secret lies in the reading and the writing. You are able to read. Every day you must read one page from some good book to your child. Every day this must be until the child learns to read. Then she must read every day, I know this is the secret.”
“I will read,” promised Katie. “What is a good book?”
“There are two great books. Shakespeare is a great book. I have heard tell that all the wonder of life is in that book; all that man has learned of beauty, all that he may know of wisdom and living are on those pages. It is said that these stories are plays to be acted out on the stage. I have never spoken to anyone who has seen this great thing. But I heard the lord of our land back in Austria say that some of the pages sing themselves like songs.”
… “And what is the other great book?”
… Mary looked around the room furtively. “It is not fitting for a good Catholic to say so but I believe that the Protestant Bible contains more of the loveliness of the greatest story on this earth and beyond it…
“That is the book, then, and the book of Shakespeare. And every day you must read a page of each to your child—even though you yourself do not understand what is written down and cannot sound the words properly. You must do this that the child will grow up knowing of what is great—knowing that these tenements of Williamsburg are not the whole world.
… “And you must tell the child the legends I told you—as my mother told them to me and her mother to her. You must tell the fairy tales of the old country. You must tell of those not of the earth who live forever in the hearts of people—fairies, elves, dwarfs, and such…”
“Because,” explained Mary Rommely simply, “the child must have a valuable thing which is called imagination. The child must have a secret world in which live things that never were…”