Was just reminded why I'm keen on Emerson. The following comes from his Notebooks (1841).
Tip of the hat to Tyler for the pointer.
"We are too civil to books. For a few golden sentences we will turn over & actually read a volume of 4 or 500 pages. Even the great books. “Come,” say they, “we will give you the key to the world” — Each poet each philosopher says this, & we expect to go like a thunderbolt to the centre, but the thunder is a superficial phenomenon, makes a skin-deep cut, and so does the Sage — whether Confucius, Menu, Zoroaster, Socrates; striking at right angles to the globe his force is instantly diffused laterally & enters not. The wedge turns out to be a rocket. I have found this to be the case with every book I have read & yet I take up a new writer with a sort of pulse beat of expectation.