The Life of Matvei Kozhemyakin: Books

She talked a lot and willingly, and the most important thing he gathered from it all (and this raised him considerably in his own eyes) was that everything she said came from books; all her knowledge had been acquired by reading.

“As soon as you’re well you must get me books,” he insisted.

“Yes, indeed. I’m glad you want to read.”

“So am I.”

Mentally he added: Soon I’ll get to know as much as you do.

It was pleasant to realize that her superiority to him came only from books.

She kept saying over and over again that people must be taught, that then they would be come better and live like human beings. She told him about people who devoted their whole lives to trying to make others upright and to cultivate in them a respect for knowledge. And for this they were thrown into jail and exiled to Siberia.

—Maxim Gorky, The Life of Matvei Kozhemyakin