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“In Vino Veritas”: Quotes About Wine From Around the World

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Some years ago, I spent a month touring France. I learned much about wine and food, two things at which the French excel.

Wine has been appreciated since ancient times.

Wine has been appreciated since ancient times.

In vino veritas. (In wine there is truth.)

— Pliny the Elder, 23–79 A.D.

The Connoisseur vs. the Enthusiast

Some claim to drink wine for the taste, alone. These connoisseurs, as they insufferably like to deem themselves, tend to have a lot of rules about which wine goes with which food, how it should be opened, how to "let it breathe,” the mechanics of proper tasting, and which words should be used to describe the taste.

They can speak of years, vintages, regions, cultivars, Cru and Grande Cru—all that stuff.

They sniff at corks, roll wine round their mouths, chew at it, and then either approve or disapprove. Each mouthful, they tell us, resounds of richness, depth, flavor, intensity, balance, finesse, finish, fruit, tannins, and (sigh of bliss) "mouth-feel." And on top of all this they ask for a "good body" as well.

(I don’t know about the rest of you, but at this point I like to smile, nod, and try to look agreeable—opening my mouth only to sip a bit of the wine. I’m not knowledgeable about these things, am already as refined as I ever care to be, and just want a buzz with my dinner.)

I trust them not. I have seen them extolling the virtues of the wine, besotted, bleary-eyed, and well beyond the ability to speak the name, let alone taste its intricacies.

Now when I buy wine, I look for very different qualities. Is it on sale? Is the spigot on the box non-drip?

Whether you are a connoisseur or simply an enthusiast, we can all acknowledge that wine has been around for so many thousands of years and has been appreciated by many all over the globe. It shouldn't come as any surprise to find that the greatest minds of every age have had something to say on the subject.

Anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.

— Leon Adams, "The Commonsense Book of Wine"

Bacchus, the Roman god of wine (known as Dionysus in the Greek world)

Bacchus, the Roman god of wine (known as Dionysus in the Greek world)

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

— Aristophanes

Ancient Greek, Roman, and Biblical Writers

Not surprisingly, humans have reflected on their love affair with the “noble” grape since the beginning of history and, one suspects, even before that. Who was the first to come across some overripe and rotten grapes and eat them, discovering that side effect of fermentation, alcohol?

"Wine can of their wits the wise beguile,
Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile."
—Homer, The Odyssey, 9th century B.C.

"The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken."
—Homer, The Odyssey, Book XIV, l. 463

“Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.
—Aristophanes, 450–385 B.C.

"No thing more excellent nor more valuable than wine
was ever granted mankind by God.
—Plato, 400 B.C.

"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
—Proverbs 31:67

"No one that has drunk old wine wants new; for he says, 'The old is nice.'"
—Luke 5:39

"When there is plenty of wine, sorrow and worry take wing."
—Ovid, The Art of Love, c. A.D. 8

Ancient Persian drinking vessel, 5th century B.C.

Ancient Persian drinking vessel, 5th century B.C.

Ancient Persia

An ancient Persian fable credits a lady of the court with the discovery of wine. This princess, having lost favor with the king, attempted to poison herself by eating some table grapes that had "spoiled" in a jar. She became intoxicated and giddy and fell asleep. When she awoke, she found the stresses that had made her life intolerable had dispersed. Returning to the source of her relief, her subsequent conduct changed so remarkably that she regained the king's favor. He shared the lady's discovery with his court and decreed an increase in the production of "spoiled" grapes.

With wine in hand, one reaches the happy state, where men are wise, women beautiful, and even one's children begin to look promising.

— Unknown

Top Wine Producers and Exporters

Top 5 wine-producing countries:

  1. Italy
  2. France
  3. Spain
  4. USA
  5. Argentina

Top 5 wine-exporting countries:

  1. France
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. Australia
  5. Chile

If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?

— Cardinal Richeleu

French Writers

Some years ago, I worked in Paris, and after the audit was finished, I rented a car and toured the country for a month. It was a lovely, hedonistic holiday and an educational one. I learned much of wine and food, two things at which the French excel, Mostly, I learned I liked both—a lot.

"Bacchus, we thank who gave us wine
Which warms the blood within our veins;
That nectar is itself divine.
The man who drinks not, yet attains
By godly grace to human rank
Would be an angel if he drank."
—Pierre Motin

"God made only water, but man made wine."
—Victor Hugo, 1856

"Wine...the intellectual part of the meal..."
—Alexandre Dumas

"I serve your Beaune to my friends, but your Volnay I keep for myself."
—Voltaire

"If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?"
—Cardinal Richeleu

"For a chase, the Cardinal recommends his excellent '24 Cabernet."
Porthos in The Three Musketeers

"The best use of bad wine is to drive away poor relations."
—French proverb

"Clearly, the pleasures wines afford are transitory - but so are those of the ballet, or of a musical performance. Wine is inspiring and adds greatly to the joy of living.
—Napoleon, 17691821

"Within the bottle's depths, the wine's soul sang one night."
—Charles Baudelaire, 18211867

Wine is sunlight, held together by water.

— Galileo Galilei

Italian Writers

Though Italy is smaller in size than France or California, it is the world’s largest wine-producing country. With 20 wine-growing regions stretching from its north to south end, this country also offers the greatest variety of wines.

"L'acqua fa male e il vina fa catare."
—Italian proverb, "Water is bad for you and wine makes you sing."

“I feast on wine and bread, and feasts they are.”
—Michelangelo, 14751564

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”
—Galileo Galilei, 15641642

“And that you may the less marvel at my words, Look at the sun's heat that becomes wine when combine with the juice that flows from the vine.”
—Dante Alighieri, 12651321

"Men are like wine—some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age."
—Pope John XXIII

“He is a fool who boasts of four things: that he has good wine, a good horse, a handsome wife, and plenty of money.”
—Italian proverb

in-vino-veritas-famous-quotes-about-wine

The wine-cup is the little silver well,

Where truth, if truth there be, doth dwell.

— William Shakespeare

English and Irish Writers

“When I find someone I respect writing about an edgy, nervous wine that dithered in the glass, I cringe. When I hear someone I don't respect talking about an austere, unforgiving wine, I turn a bit austere and unforgiving myself. When I come across stuff like that and remember about the figs and bananas, I want to snigger uneasily. You can call a wine red, and dry, and strong, and pleasant. After that, watch out...”
Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

"The wine-cup is the little silver well,
Where truth, if truth there be, doth dwell."
—William Shakespeare, 15641616

"Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh."
—William Butler Yeats

"They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream."
Ernest Dowson

"Few things surpass old wine; and they may preach Who please, the more because they preach in vain… Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter, Sermons and soda-water the day after."
—Lord Bryon, 17881824

"Which cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires The young, makes Weariness forget his toil, And Fear her danger; opens a new world When this, the present, palls."
—Lord Bryon, 17881824

Sunny afternoon in the vineyards

Sunny afternoon in the vineyards

Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

German Writers

"Music is the wine which inspires one to new generative processes, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them spiritually drunken."
Ludwig van Beethoven

"He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole lifelong."
—Martin Luther, 1777

"Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues."
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771

"Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you."
—Johannes Brahms's last words said after he had a small glass of wine, April 3, 1897

Sonoma wine country, California

Sonoma wine country, California

There cannot be good living where there is not good drinking.

— Benjamin Franklin

American Writers

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson took up residence in the President’s House in 1801, after his inauguration as the third president of the United States. According to records, in 1801 he spent "$6500 for provisions and groceries, $2700 for servants (some of whom were liveried), $500 for Lewis’s salary, and $3,000 for wine.”

"I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens."

"No nation is drunken where wine is cheap,
and none sober where the dearness of wine substitutes
ardent spirits as the common beverage.
Wine brightens the life and thinking of anyone."

"I have lived temperately... I double the doctor's recommendation of a glass and a half of wine each day and even treble it with a friend."

"By making this wine vine known to the public, I have rendered my
country as great a service as if I had enabled it to pay back the national debt."

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (17061790), American Renaissance man and founding father of the nation, had much to say on the subject of wine.

"The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars."

"There cannot be good living where there is not good drinking."

"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."

"Take counsel in wine, but resolve afterwards in water."

“We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

Who drinks the most wine?

in-vino-veritas-famous-quotes-about-wine

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

— Hannibal Lecter, "Silence of the Lambs"

Wine in Cinema

Just as film and books reflect our society back to us, the arts also mirror our fascination with wine. Here are some memorable quotes.

"My dear girl, there are some things that are just not done, such as drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38° Fahrenheit."
—James Bond in Ian Fleming's Goldfinger

"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"
—Larson E. Whipsnade (W.C. Fields), You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

"This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don't want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste."
—Count Mippipopolous in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (1926)

"During one of my treks through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew. We were compelled to live on food and water for several days."
—Cuthbert J. Twillie (W.C. Fields), My Little Chickadee, (1940)

"…then the streams would run with wine instead of water and the whole forest would give itself up to jollification for weeks on end."
—C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

"I like to drink wine more than I used to..." "It's good for you, pop."
—Exchange between Don Corleone and Michael Corleone, The Godfather

“Wine is like people. The wine takes all the influences in life all around it, it absorbs them and it gets its personality."
—Luc (Kevin Kline), French Kiss (1995)

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
—Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), Silence of the Lambs (1991)

“I myself subscribe more to the European philosophy of life, my priorities leaning towards wine, women and, well that's about it.”
—Alfie (Jude Law), Alfie (2004)

"Let me show you how this is done. First thing, hold the glass up and examine the wine against the light. You're looking for color and clarity. Just, get a sense of it. OK? Uhh, thick? Thin? Watery? Syrupy? OK? Alright. Now, tip it. What you're doing here is checking for color density as it thins out towards the rim. Uhh, that's gonna tell you how old it is, among other things. It's usually more important with reds. OK? Now, stick your nose in it. Don't be shy, really get your nose in there. Mmm... a little citrus... maybe some strawberry... [smacks lips]... passion fruit... and, oh, there's just like the faintest soupçon of like asparagus and just a flutter of a... like a... nutty Edam cheese...”
—Miles Raymond, Sideways

“I never drink… wine.”
—Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Dracula (1931)

I only drink wine on days ending in "y."

— Unknown

Funny Wine Quotes

"Due to the heavy wine fog all further thoughts have been temporarily suspended."

"Wine improves with age, the older I get the better I like it."

"Like a fine wine I'm not getting older, I'm becoming more complex."

"I only drink wine on days ending in 'y.'"

I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food.

— W. C. Fields

My Personal Favorites

“Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it's our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd like to have dinner with.”
—Kathleen Mifsud

“I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food.”
—W. C. Fields, 18801946

in-vino-veritas-famous-quotes-about-wine

Comments

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on December 18, 2013:

Thanks to you, too. Yep, throughout the ages, man has loved wine. (Women, too.)

Mackenzie Sage Wright on December 18, 2013:

Really cool-- love those quotes. Something about wine seems to just make me feel connected to the earth, to the past~ one of the simple joys in life. Great hub.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on December 18, 2013:

Thank you.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 17, 2013:

What a fun and well- written article! This is a useful collection of beautiful quotes. I especially liked, "he who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long". Voted up across the board and shared.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 26, 2013:

'Tis there. Don't know why the original link didn't work but the new one does, and thanks for dropping by.

des mc carthy on November 25, 2013:

Hello there

I have noticed that you are using one of our Cellar Tours Piedmont wine maps on your post. I´m delighted to see the map is useful for the piece, excellent. We would appreciate a working link back to our site as well- http://www.cellartours.com/italy/italian-wine-maps...

Can you kindly include the link and let us know?

Much obliged,

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on April 19, 2013:

You're welcome.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on January 25, 2013:

My pleasure -- I mean seriously, my pleasure. What would life be like without the wine? Doesn't bear contemplation.

Marco Piazzalunga from Presezzo, Italy on January 25, 2013:

I am Italian and I appreciate the wine more than many other things. So thank you very much for having spoken so widely not only of wine in general, but also of the Italian one.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 08, 2011:

Hi Amela. Thanks. A toast to good wine. Lynda

Amela on October 07, 2011:

I only drink wine on days ending in "y"......i wish there are more days in a week....;-)...great hub....

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 13, 2011:

Thank you Beata. You as well. Lynda

Beata Stasak from Western Australia on September 12, 2011:

Love wine, making 'shiraz and cabernet' on my farm:) Again you put 'smile on my dial', thanks for stopping by my dear friend and all the best with your successful writing and hubbing:)

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on December 20, 2010:

Thank you Victor. Yes, some Portuguese wines are excellent.

Victor Pinho on December 20, 2010:

One of the most drinking wine in the world is the portuguese.

If we look quality Portugal is the best. a suggest to try some ones

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 27, 2010:

You do that Gma. With all the articles you've posted lately, it's time to wipe the sweat from your brow and open a bottle -- while wearing nice warm socks to be sure. Lynda

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on October 27, 2010:

Lmmartin,

Wow! Absolutely spectacular! W C Fields - I should get back to cooking with wine! Oh, what a delightful respite this Hub has been to me. I must run to the store and buy a bottle for tonight.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 19, 2010:

Good idea, James, and have one for me. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

James J Mills from Northern California on October 19, 2010:

Lynda, wonderful hub. You really gathered together an abundance of wisdom and joy here.

Ahhh yes... re: Aristophanes...., we drink and seem so clever in the night, but all too often wake to our chagrin.... and WC Fields of course with perhaps the cleverest of sayings. Enjoyed it much.... I think I'll have a glass tonight. JM

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 18, 2010:

Thanks Hello, you're too kind. Glad you enjoyed. Lynda

Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 18, 2010:

A masterpiece which only can write. It contains everything. Quotes for thoughts, history, knowledge of which country produces most and what, advice how to taste the quality. Thank you for your great research and a very interesting read.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 18, 2010:

Hi Amanda, Yes those glorious wines of France, found at every turn in the road and sampled at modest cottages and grand chateaus alike. Those were the days ... Thanks for commenting. Lynda

Amanda Severn from UK on October 18, 2010:

Hi Lynda, your description of your time in France took me right back to a happy holday spent in the Loire valley where we saw many home-made signs inviting passers-by to try the wine. We followed winding, rutted tracks through farmland and vineyards on several occassions, and sat and sampled potent reds and pale yellow whites in dusty sheds. We even bought a few bottles to take home. Happy days! Great quotes, and a fun hub.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 17, 2010:

Glad you enjoyed BKCreative, and hope you enjoy the actual wine just as much.Yes, I thought the Persian fable interesting when I found it as well. Thanks so much. Lynda

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on October 17, 2010:

I love a great French wine - so good. I thought we American types were a bit more sophisticated and enjoyed a good wine more often but looking at the chart (and there are more than 300 million of us) - I see we don't. Maybe if we drank more it would 'make life easier' Sigh! No I guess it's beer. But tomorrow I am on my way to the liquor store for a nice wine!

Meanwhile, thanks a million for the fable about the Persian woman - it makes sooo much sense. Great fun!

Rated up again - yay!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 17, 2010:

Ah no, Three Foot Hat -- not even a Strawberry Ripple or Thunderbird on hand?

Hi Nan. I know on my travels in Europe children were given watered wine quite commonly, but not full strength. At least not as I saw. But I have to say, I didn't find the water in Europe so bad.. So I don't know. I think it's just that wine is so much a part of their culture. Thanks so much for commenting. Lynda

Nan on October 17, 2010:

Great info on wine. In Europe the water is so bad that they give their children wine. I guess it has not hurt them, and it seems to make them healthy. I like some wines myself, and my family use to make home made wine.

ThreeFootHat from Chicago on October 17, 2010:

I did! Alas, all I had on hand was some Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's, but I guess that is better than none at all!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 16, 2010:

@ThreeFootHat -- have one.

ThreeFootHat from Chicago on October 16, 2010:

This was a fun hub! Now I want a glass of wine. :)

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on October 16, 2010:

..Time for a glass of wine...

"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" is a song performed by Alan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 16, 2010:

Hi Gus, Yes, isn't it nice to laugh at ourselves? Stops us from becoming altogether too stuffy. Thanks, for stopping by. Your long term support and friendship means so much.

Hi Dallas. What does time have to do with it? Thanks for coming by. Lynda

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on October 16, 2010:

It must be 5 o'clock somewhere.. Great hub.

Gustave Kilthau from USA on October 16, 2010:

Lynda - Not only was this a very interesting article, but it was so full of humor and humorous quotations that I had to wait a few moments before writing this comment until I could stop laughing.

Gus :-)))

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 16, 2010:

Thanks for commenting Martie. Yes, I agree with you, wine is not something to be taken daily but in the company of friends. Do imaginary friends count? And no, South Africa is not in the top five wine producing countries according to my research, but that is measuring volume ... Lynda

Martie Coetser from South Africa on October 16, 2010:

Aw, those grapes, those grapes look delicious. You can have the bottle of wine, I will take the grapes. But only because I have a choice between wine and fresh grapes, okay. I don’t regard wine or any liquor as fluid to be taken daily, but while socializing (in real life :) and not in cyberspace) I like rosé wine made in South Africa. Our wines are of the best in the world. (But I see not one of the top 5?) I also like champaign -not too dry. Thanks for a great hub, Lynda. Voted UP!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 15, 2010:

Hi Rafini, The only thing I know of wine is that I like to drink it. What else is there? Thanks for coming by. Lynda

Rafini from Somewhere I can't get away from on October 15, 2010:

I know nothing of wine, but enjoyed the read - including the foolish wine quotes!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 15, 2010:

Hi DRBJ: Well it's 4:25 EDT and I think I'll pour myself one. Maybe you should too. Thanks for the comment. I'll check out your tees. Lynda

drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 15, 2010:

Lynda - I have not yet had a glass of wine today but I am speaking the truth: this hub "resounds of richness, depth, flavor, intensity, balance, finesse, ... and good body."

Brava on your writing, your research, your one-of-a-kind presentation, and all the other elements combined that make this hub so exceptionally excellent.

Here's one of my favorite "wine" quotes: "My doctor told me to give up wine, women and song. So I stopped singing." :)

And oh, yes, almost forgot: the "cook with wine" quote appears on my tee shirts (drbjtees @Zazzle).

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 15, 2010:

Hi A Warren -- or you could just go out and buy a bottle. Easier than cooking shrimp scampi, isn't it? Thanks for commenting.Lynda

Hi Itakins -- you could write them on your hand. That would work. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

Hi Mr. Happy -- so you are on a par with Michelangelo who loved bread and wine and called it feasts. Good company. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 15, 2010:

“I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food.” I heard this one before and didn't know who said it. Thanks!

I usually drink red, Italian wine: Valpolicella, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Chianti are my favorites! Italian wine and French cheese! That's all I need and I am happy.

itakins from Irl on October 15, 2010:

I love it -the hub, that is.Great quotes here -which I wish I could remember just to appear smart on occasions.

A Warren on October 15, 2010:

Now you've gone and done it. I want wine. I will have to cook that shrimp scampi I've been promising my neighbor so we can open a bottle of hers, since I am all out.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 15, 2010:

Happy you enjoyed saddlerider. Your feelings on wine put you in very heady company, for the great notables through history share your sentiments. As to caressing all my buttons...Thanks. Lynda

Hi respenser. You sneaked in while I was writing the above. Glad you like it. I think perhaps USA is 18th because of the influence of the 'Temperance' ideology in some parts. Alcohol consumption overall in the US is lower than many other places. My homeland of Canada is one of the highest -- possibly has something to do with the cold. Who knows? Lynda

Ronnie Sowell from South Carolina on October 15, 2010:

I enjoyed this hub on a subject I know nothing about. The quotes from 007, Don Corleone, Hannibal Lecter and Dracula made the hub fun to read. The USA is 18th on the list for wine drinking? Must be because of all the beer we drink at the NASCAR races!

saddlerider1 on October 15, 2010:

I loved this hub, I am a wine drinker and have enjoyed the grape since boyhood. I was introduced to it at the age of 15 and I sip and savour it with most meals.

Heading for my senior years I have a little more respect for the grape than I did as a younger man. I now drink it mostly with a fine dinner, where as I use to drink it more recklessly at parties and outings.

I must say a glass of the grape a day keeps me a happy man and stimulates the mind and creative juices. It is truly the nectar of the gods. I especially loved this quote, you added.

"With wine in hand, one reaches the happy state - where men are wise, women beautiful; and even one's children begin to look promising." – unknown

Great read, I will rate this UP UP UP UP and caress all your buttons and share and bookmark it for rereads.