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" My wife tells me I should check out 'Downton Abbey', but I gather that series might be almost too intense for my temperate nature. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 'The Admirable Crichton' is probably Barrie's most famous work after 'Peter Pan', nearly a pendant to that classic. "
" Digital texts are all well and good, but books on shelves are a presence in your life. As such, they become a part of your day-to-day existence, reminding you, chastising you, calling to you. Plus, book collecting is, hands down, the greatest pastime in the world. "
" When I come to visit my mom - every two or three months - I generally spend five or six hours with her each day. She's always immensely glad to see me, her eldest child, her only son. "
" When I was a boy in the late 1950s, the public library refused to stock books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. They were regarded as vulgar, ill-written potboilers. "
" At the age of 14, I ran away from home for four days and hitchhiked around western Pennsylvania and southern Ohio. "
" Writers keep writing and publishers publishing - it never grows boring. "
" Sad to say, multi-tasking is beyond me. I read one book at a time all the way through. If I'm reviewing the book, I have to write the review before I start reading any other book. I especially hate it when the phone rings and interrupts my train of thought. "
" Many people know that Shakespeare's dramatic 'canon' was established in 1623 by the publication of the so-called First Folio. That hefty volume contained thirty-six plays. "
" I didn't work for any newspapers in college, never worked for any newspaper before 'The Washington Post'. "
" In my own case, my folks didn't actually object to comics, as many parents did, but they pretty much felt the things were a waste of time. "
" I'm nothing if not a literary hedonist. "
" With concerted effort, I can follow written instructions, but don't ask me to simply grasp how to operate a smartphone. "
" The only kind of notebook I actively dislike is the steno pad, entirely because of that vertical line down the middle of the page. I presume it has some arcane secretarial use, but to me, it's both ugly and confusing. "
" Halloween isn't the only time for ghosts and ghost stories. In Victorian Britain, spooky winter's tales were part of the Christmas season, often told after dinner, over port or coffee. "
" Since I make my living as a literary journalist, not a book scout, I spend inordinate amounts of time either reading or writing. "
" I do think digital media encourages speed-reading, which can be fine if one is simply seeking information. But a serious novel or work of history or volume of poetry is an experience one should savor, take time over. "
" Born in 1910, Wilfrid Thesiger spent his childhood in Ethiopia, or Abyssinia, as it was then called, where his father was an important and much-admired British official. "
" At any given moment, I've always assumed that nearly everyone around me was smarter than I was, more naturally gifted, quicker-witted, and probably capable of understanding Heidegger and Derrida. "
" People who've read my reviews know my tastes, know how I approach a book, know my background. I can write with believable authority. It doesn't mean I'm always right. "
" I suppose movie theaters are the churches of the modern age, where we gather reverently to worship the tinsel gods of Hollywood. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" The savagery and power of Edith Wharton's ghost stories surprised me. "
" Literary generations come and go, and each generation passeth away and is heard of no more. In the end, simply the making itself - of poems and stories and essays - delivers the only reward a writer can be sure of. And, perhaps, the only one that matters. "
Come And Go
" A personal library is a reflection of who you are and who you want to be, of what you value and what you desire, of how much you know and how much more you'd like to know. "
" Adventurous reading allows one to escape a little from the provincialities of one's home culture and the blinders of one's narrow self. "
" I love the look of books published by the firm of Rupert Hart-Davis: They strike me as handsome, elegant, and inviting. I'll pick up almost anything with that imprint, especially if it's in a jacket or priced low. "
" To my mind, 'Dear Brutus' stands halfway between Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's 'Into the Woods'. Like them, it is a play about enchantment and disillusion, dreams and reality. "