For One Who Reads, There Is No Limit to the Number of Lives That May Be Lived

Creator: Louis L’Amour, very popular novelist who primarily wrote about the American Old West

Context: In 1989 Louis L’Amour published a memoir titled “Education of a Wandering Man”. He eloquently expressed an idea that other writers of fiction and non-fiction have stated. Emphasis added: 1

It is often said that one has but one life to live, but that is nonsense. For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Darkside Johnny who tweeted the second sentence while crediting L’Amour.

Related Article: Fiction completes us, mutilated beings burdened with the awful dichotomy of having only one life and the ability to desire a thousand. – Mario Vargas Llosa

Related Article: A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. – George R. R. Martin


  1. 2008 reissue (1989 Copyright), Education of a Wandering Man: A Memoir by Louis L’Amour, Chapter 3, Unnumbered Page in Preview, Bantam Dell: A Division of Random House, New York. (Google Books Preview)