Quote of the Day
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I do the same things I did when I was 12 years old: I ride bikes, I read books, I walk in the woods. And I listen to music.
Printed books usually outlive bookstores and the publishers who brought them out. They sit around, demanding nothing, for decades. That's one of their nicest qualities - their brute persistence.
I'm famously secretive about my work. Nobody reads my books till they're finished.
One time at the University of Colorado, at a faculty dinner, this professor said to me, 'Well, my goodness, a boy from Appa-lay-chee-a with a Ph.D!' The dinner was in her house. And I said, 'My grandparents didn't have indoor plumbing, but they had more books in their house than you do.' I was a little insulted by the Appa-lay-chee-a business.
People apparently only read mystery stories of any length. With mysteries, the longer the better, and people will read any damn thing. But the indulgent, 800-page books that were written a hundred years ago are just not going to be written anymore, and people need to get used to that.
Once I start reading something, I can't stop. I obsessively read, which is a problem with long books!
I like the idea of making big budget films with a heart. I like graphic novels more than comic books.
I'd always liked to read, but when I picked up books I wasn't getting the same kind of excitement from them that I was from going out clubbing. I wanted to get the same kind of feel.
I had amazing intellectual privilege as a kid. My mom taught me to read when I was two or three. When I was five, I read and wrote well enough to do my nine-year older brother's homework in exchange for chocolate or cigarettes. By the time I was 10, I was reading Orwell, Tolstoy's 'War and Peace,' and the Koran. I was reading comic books, too.
I remember him reading 'Sleeping Beauty,' and he would play the score by Tchaikovsky as he read it. We'd also read 'Winnie the Pooh,' and, you know, those probably that he most often read me were 'Beatrix Potter' books, 'The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck' and 'The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.' I still have at least 15 of them.
My first book was the most successful debut novel in the U.K. ever and every one of my books has reached number one in the U.K. Clearly the British know brilliance when they see it.
I went back over the sketch books I'd filled at Sheffield for ideas and discovered Wallace and Gromit, except Gromit was a cat then. I made them into Plasticene shapes and started 'A Grand Day Out.' It took me longer than I expected.
And I know I'm supposed to feel guilty for wanting people to buy my books... and books in general? Novels and poetry, they belong to the realm of art. How dirty of us to try to hawk art! But, after a decade of hand-wringing and apologies, I can't quite muster the guilt anymore.
I don't plot the books out ahead of time, I don't plan them. I don't begin at the beginning and end at the end. I don't work with an outline and I don't work in a straight line.
More books, more racing and more foolishness with cars and motorcycles are in the works.
To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves.
Claude Adrien Helvetius
My father was an engineer - he wasn't literary, not a writer or a journalist, but he was one of the world's great readers. Every two weeks, he'd take me to our local branch library and pull books off the shelf for me, stacking them up in my arms - 'Have you read this? And this? And this?'
Schools and libraries are the twin cornerstones of a civilized society. Libraries are only good if people use them, like books only exist when someone reads them.
Even as the Internet has revived hope of a universal library and Google seems to promise an answer to every query, books have remained a dark region in the universe of information. We want books to be as accessible and searchable as the Web. On the other hand, we still want them to be books.
Since I can barely write two books a year the best solution seems to be co-author projects. My goal isn't to get another writer to clone me... it's more to produce a book that shares my vision of positive, fun entertainment.
There are two books that I often travel with; one is 'The Theory on Moral Sentiments' by Adam Smith. The other is 'The Meditations.' It's not that I agree with either views expressed in the books, but I believe ideas and thoughts of older generations can offer food for thought for the current generation.
Do you lend books and DVDs to people? If so, don't you always regret it? All my life I have forced books on to people who have subsequently forgotten all about it. Meanwhile, on my shelves sit many orphaned books loaned to me over the years by trusting, innocent souls - some as long ago as the Seventies.
There is no question that creative intelligence comes not through learning things you find in books or histories that have already been written, but by focusing on and giving value to experience as it happens.
Books are in no hurry. An act of creation is in no hurry; it reads us, it privileges us infinitely. The notion that it is the occasion for our cleverness fills me with baffled bitterness and anger.
The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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