On my website there's a quote from the writer Anthony Burgess: The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. I've always found that inspiring because the written word, as an art form, is unlike any other: movies, TV, music, they're shared experiences, but books aren't like that. The relationship between a writer and a reader is utterly unique to those two individuals. The world that forms in your head as you read a book will be slightly different to that experienced by every other reader. Anywhere. Ever. Reading is very personal, a communication from one mind to another, something which can't be exactly copied, or replicated, or directly shared. If I read the work of, say, one of the great Victorian novelists, it's like a gift from the past, a momentary connection to another's thoughts. Their ideas are down on paper, to be picked up by me, over a century later. Writers can speak individually to readers across a year, or ten years, or a thousand. That's why I love books.
Sometimes, when it’s going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationery. The true writer, the born writer, will scribble words on scraps of litter, the back of a bus tickets, on the wall of a cell. Emma is lost on anything less than 120gsm.
But I hope I will never have a life that is not surrounded by books, by books that are bound in paper and cloth and glue, such perishable things for ideas that have lasted thousands of years, or just since the most recent Harry Potter. I hope I am always walled in by the very weight and breadth and clumsy, inefficient, antiquated bulk of them, hope I spend my last days on this Earth arranging and rearranging them on thrones of good, honest pine, oak, and mahogany, because they just feel good in my hands, because I just like to look at their covers, and dream of the promise of the great stories inside.
Bookworms are the most precious worms in the world when they are humans, feeding upon the paper's body with their starving minds.
I am drawn mostly, insistently to the human voice. How powerful and necessary the solo voice, the experience of being someone, something else for a little while. This is and will remain literature’s killer app, the thing most impervious to threat by everything that’s not the word.
Distraction is reading written word and when I seek to make distraction I write the words I wish to be enveloped in.
A writer writes knowing that nothing else will elicit the same kind of satisfaction and personal triumph as molding the written word into a reader's great experience.
Sometimes ideas flow from my mind in a raging river of stringed sentences; I can scarcely scribble on the page fast enough to keep up with the mental current. Sometimes, however, beavers move in and dam the whole thing up.
I guess you can call me old fashioned. I prefer the book with the pages that you can actually turn. Sure, I may have to lick the tip of my fingers so that the pages don't stick together when I'm enraptured in a story that I can't wait to get to the next page. But nothing beats the sound that an actual, physical book makes when you first crack it open or the smell of new, fresh printed words on the creamy white paper of a page turner.