More often than not, the Sunday New York Times Book Review contains a passage that you wish you’d written, or that you’d like to save somewhere to inspire yourself about the importance of books, reading and libraries.
For example, this was part of a July 5th interview with Anthony Doerr. By the Book is a recurring feature in which writers are quizzed about their reading life. Here’s an excerpt:
“Have you ever gotten in trouble for reading a book?
Gosh, I’m not sure. Last year I bought an Eliot Weinberger essay collection to my son’s lacrosse practice and took a wayward ball to the shin because I was sitting too close to the field. I did read “The Sheltering Sky” when I was 11 or 12 years old. (“Mom, what’s hashish?) But I don’t think I got in trouble for it. On the contrary, I was incredibly blessed because neither my mother nor the local librarians ever said ‘This is outside your age range, Tony. You can’t handle this.’ They trusted us to make our own paths through books and that’s very, very empowering.”
From Anthony Doerr: By the Book, New York Times, p. 8, July 5, 2015.
Or sometimes, it hits a little close to home. To quote Judd Apatow:
“My buying-to-actually reading ratio is 387 to 1. …I have actually convinced myself that buying books is the same as reading…”
This is in answer to the question: “Whom do you consider the best writers – novelists, essayists, critics, journalists, poets – working today?,” he says, “I am the last person you should ask because I don’t read that much.”
From Judd Apatow: By the Book, New York Times, p. 7, June 14, 2015
I intend to browse through back issues at the Main library, and look for Carl Hiaasen, Neil Gaiman, Anne Lamott, Alain de Botton, Marilynne Robinson, and Michael Connelly, among others (you can also browse the archives online to see a list of featured authors). These are folks that I’m guessing are going to be both witty and not so very full of themselves.
So, how would you answer the By the Book questionnaire?