From my infancy I was passionately fond of reading, and all the money that came into my hands was laid out in the purchasing of books. I was very fond of voyages. My first acquistion was Bunyan's works in separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's "Historical Collections." They were small chap-men's books, and cheap, forty volumes in all. My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read. I have often regretted that at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge more proper books had not fallen in my way, since it was resolved I should not be bred to divinity. There was among them Plutarch's "Lives," which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advantage. There was also a book of Defoe's, called "An Essay on Projects," and another of Dr. Mather's, called "An Essay to Do Good," which perhaps gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future events of my life.
--Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiograph of Benjamin Franklin