Franz Kafka on reading books

On the way to the Isle of Skye via Fort William in Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2011

A book must be the axe to crack open the frozen sea within us.

Magic by Iceland and Thoreau

We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves.

Every picture tells a story: Into the unknowable

We need books like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide.

Five Creepy Islands in Sydney Harbour
Five Creepy Islands in Sydney Harbour

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

10 thoughts on “Franz Kafka on reading books

    1. I haven’t read The Castle I don’t think? Is that a novel or one of his short stories? I have only read a couple of his short stories. I hope you get around to writing something about it and I would love to read it. My fav of his is still the good old Metamorphosis, it’s very powerful how Gregor Samsa is just hated and ostracised by his family but in the end he still loves them, for me the story is about meeting hate or fear with love…it is a powerful story unlike any other


      1. I will give it another go to type something about it, OK? But briefly it’s one of his three novels i did name it on my blog as my fave of them but i think i am going to re-read the other two too but I’ve started re-reading Catch 22 again in meantime for some unknown reason? 🙂


      2. I dont think I have read that one either…another to look up…I have heard of Catch 22, I believe it is quite famous. Thanks 🙂


      3. That’s all I’m reading now and everything else is on hold, maybe should blog about that too because i have made a start on Kafka’s Castle post so hope it’s up by the end of this week sometime, OK? 🙂


  1. Brilliant quotes and you can tell Kafka was ambitious himself by saying these things. I’ve read The Trial which is still so relatable.

    Another quote about art I like is by film director Nicolas Winding Refn who said (I forget the exact words) that he approaches a project as if it was his last, this makes him try harder to make it as great as possible.


    1. Yes, Kafka was totally daring in how he wrote his stories and it shows…he is so great and the stories seem so vibrant as much now as when they were written. As a tangential thing which does loosely relate to this, I recently read an article about how some writers nowadays feel the necessity to employ a sensitivity reader in order to make sure that their work is not offensive in any way. I totally disagree on that. I think it would make for dull reading if people were not able to write passionately, from the heart and with full conviction, even at the risk of offending someone about something. I wonder what Kafka would have to say about such nonsense.


      1. Sensitivity readers sounds like today’s test screenings for movies where unwanted elements are cut. I prefer when the artist has final cut. But even when there’s censorship, the restrictions can result in interesting work.


      2. Yes definitely…I agree. I think it depends on context or reason behind it. If it’s censorship for the sake of brevity in moving the plot along or in cutting out the boring parts of a film or in a book..yeah. If it’s cutting out parts because you’re worried you may offend someone out there in the audience, then I feel it may actually water down the power of a book or a movie, but that’s my two cents.


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