Today marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of Franz Kafka, born on July 3, 1883 in Prague (Bohemia, Austria-Hungary). In a piece of unplanned symmetry, the Charles Bukowski poem we posted yesterday (“I Like Your Books”) ends with the line, “let ’em go back to Kafka.” So, yes, today we are going back to Kafka and will post a variety of quotes from the great author — and he had much to say about books and writing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Franz Kafka (July 3, 1883 –  June 3, 1924) was a German-language writer of novels and short stories, regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. His major works include The Metamorphosis, The Trial, and The Castle. A lawyer by training, Kafka worked in an insurance company and wrote short stories in his spare time — but only a few of his works were published during his lifetime. Kafka’s unfinished manuscripts were published posthumously, mostly by his friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka’s wish to destroy the material. Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre are among the writers influenced by Kafka’s work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe surreal situations such as those in his writing. (Read more at

Artwork: Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol (1980)