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" My own particular feline companion answers, or rather doesn't answer, to Cinnamon. One of my kids must have given her the name, even though she's mostly gray and white. "
" Young people looking for adventure fiction now generally turn to fantasy, but for those of a certain age, the spy thriller has long been the escape reading of choice. "
" Books don't only furnish a room: they also make the best holiday gifts. "
" Back in the 1950s and '60s, J. M. Barrie's 'Peter Pan' - starring Mary Martin and Cyril Ritchard - was regularly aired on network television during the Christmas season. I must have seen it four or five times and remember, in particular, Ritchard's gloriously camp interpretation of Captain Hook. "
" Writers keep writing and publishers publishing - it never grows boring. "
" Carl Barks was born in Merrill, Oregon, in 1901, grew up in a farming family, and eventually held a number of blue-collar jobs. He knew what it was to be poor and to work hard for a living. "
" Critics for established venues are vetted by editors; they usually demonstrate a certain objectivity; and they come with known backgrounds and specialized knowledge. "
" In classic noir fiction and film, it is always hot. Fans whirr in sweltering hotel rooms, sweat forms on a stranger's brow, the muggy air stifles - one can hardly breathe. Come nightfall, there is no relief, only the darkness that allows illicit lovers to meet, the trusted to betray, and murderers to act. "
" Not all of E. Nesbit's children's books are fantasies, but even the most realistic somehow seem magical. In her holiday world, nobody ever goes to school, though all the kids know their English history, Greek myths, and classic tales of derring-do. "
" It is a truth universally acknowledged that M. Dirda is a sucker for anything bookish in the way of artwork. "
" My gift, if that's not too grandiose a term, is one for describing novels, biographies, and works of history in such a way that people want to read them. "
" Throughout the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, Latin was the language of learning and international communication. But in the early modern period, it was gradually displaced by French. By the eighteenth century, all the world - or at least all of Europe - aspired to be Parisian. "
" Summertime, and the reading is easy... Well, maybe not easy, exactly, but July and August are hardly the months to start working your way through the works of Germanic philosophers. Save Hegel, Heidegger, and Husserl for the bleaker days of February. "
" I long ago ran out of bookshelf space and so, like a museum with its art, simply rotate my books from the boxes to the shelves and back again. "
" At 17, I traveled to Mexico in a lemon yellow Mustang and saved money by bunking down in cheap, cockroach-infested flophouses. In my early 20s, I went on to thumb rides through Europe, readily sleeping in train stations, my backpack as a pillow. Once I even hunkered down for a night on a sidewalk grate - for warmth - in Paris. "
" I don't like gross monetary inequities. I firmly believe that the wrong people and the wrong professions are being rewarded, and rewarded absurdly, and that the hardest work the obscenely rich do is ensuring that they preserve their privileges, status symbols, and bloated bank accounts. "
" Any man's death diminishes us, but when an artist passes away, we lose not just an island but an entire archipelago. "
" In 1911, Edgar Rice Burroughs, having failed at everything else, decided to write a novel. He was then in his mid-thirties, married with two children, barely supporting his family as the agent for a pencil-sharpener business. "
" A reviewer's lot is not always an easy one. I can remember flogging myself to finish Harold Brodkey's 'The Runaway Soul' despite the novel's consummate, unmitigated tedium. "
" Since I make my living as a literary journalist, not a book scout, I spend inordinate amounts of time either reading or writing. "
" For me, the two weeks between Christmas and Twelfth Night have come to be reserved for desultory reading. The pressure of the holiday is over, the weather outside is frightful, there are lots of leftovers to munch on, vacation hours are being used up. "
" I'm sometimes willing to put in vast, even inordinate amounts of time if I find a project that interests me. "
" When I talk to friends and editors about possible projects, especially about projects that might come with a significant cash advance, they usually suggest a biography. Sometimes I'm tempted, but the prospect of spending years researching and writing about someone else's life offends my vanity. "
" I am something of an aficionado of thrift stores. In my youth, I regularly searched their shelves for old books. "
" I didn't work for any newspapers in college, never worked for any newspaper before 'The Washington Post'. "
" I'm nothing if not a literary hedonist. "
" Neither my mom nor my dad ever bought me any comic books. Certainly not for Christmas. I suspect that doing so would have violated the Parents' Code. "
" In my younger days, I used to visit record shops and covet boxed sets of Beethoven symphonies, Wagner operas, Bach cantatas, Mozart piano concertos. Only rarely was I able to find the money for such luxuries. "
" Most lyric poetry is about love, whether yearned after, fulfilled, or wistfully regretted; what isn't tends to consist of laments and cris du coeur over this, that, and the other. "
" 'The Admirable Crichton' is probably Barrie's most famous work after 'Peter Pan', nearly a pendant to that classic. "
" Most scholarly books we read for the information or insight they contain. But some we return to simply for the pleasure of the author's company. "