Reading & Writing & Libraries

The reason children’s books endure seems clear enough: The books that toddlers read are determined entirely by adults, and when adults select books for kids they naturally gravitate towards the books they loved as kids. As a result, the market for children’s books is probably more resistant to cultural churn than just about any other slice of the consumer economy; it’s a closed circuit that reproduces itself one generation after another
There are benefits to this system. For one, it helps to ensure that passing fads doesn’t wash quality books away. It’s doubtful, for example, that toddlers would opt for Goodnight Moon as often as their parents do, so maybe it’s just as well that they don’t have a say. For two, the persistence of children’s books yields a kind of experience we don’t get so often in a culture that has relatively few traditions: the chance to revisit childhood experiences through an older set of eyes.

tags: children books reading parenting wp

I keep everything I buy. Only occasionally do I buy a book by mistake. Someone recommends it to me and I buy it and it’s horrible. I don’t keep books that I don’t like. In my mind there are real books and not real books. Real books are books that I like and not real books are junk that other people recommend to me. I don’t believe it’s taste, I believe they’re wrong. People tell me they’re good and they’re not…
I I was a child I would kiss any book I dropped. When I was a very little child after I’d read a book I really liked I’d kiss it. Love is really the word. I think Children’s books are a human emotional experience rather than an intellectual one. You have a human relationship with them. Children have emotional relationships with inanimate objects which it would be wise to carry on into adulthood. The way a child makes a person out of a doll, which I never did, I made people out of books…
My mother was a big bookworm. Not a bibliophile. My mother got me into what has been for my entire life certainly what could be called my drug addiction: the reading of detective stories. I read five or six a week and must have eight billion of them…
I don’t give them away anymore. I keep them. I’m the only person I know who reads mysteries like this who does not care who did it. I don’t read them for the mystery, I don’t read them for the game or the puzzle. I think of them more as an eating experience than as a reading experience. I suppose I read them for the atmosphere or the characters but I read them like a drug. I read them instead of taking heroin…
Everything is disappointing to those who read a lot. There’s no question that at no time in my life have I ever thought that life was as good as reading. And I haven’t had a bad life. What’s unusual about me is that most people I know who read to the extent that I do aren’t as precarious as I am…
I would rather read than have any kind of real life, like working, or being responsible. Reading prepares you for other reading, and possibly for writing, but, I’m happy to say, it certainly has nothing to do with real life. All the things that I never did because I was reading, so what? If someone said to me, how did you spend your life? I’d have to say, lying on the sofa reading.

tags: reading library interviews wp

The next library is a house for the librarian with the guts to invite kids in to teach them how to get better grades while doing less grunt work. And to teach them how to use a soldering iron or take apart something with no user serviceable parts inside. And even to challenge them to teach classes on their passions, merely because it’s fun. This librarian takes responsibility/blame for any kid who manages to graduate from school without being a first-rate data shark.
The next library is filled with so many web terminals there’s always at least one empty. And the people who run this library don’t view the combination of access to data and connections to peers as a sidelight–it’s the entire point.
Wouldn’t you want to live and work and pay taxes in a town that had a library like that? The vibe of the best Brooklyn coffee shop combined with a passionate raconteur of information? There are one thousand things that could be done in a place like this, all built around one mission: take the world of data, combine it with the people in this community and create value.
We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.

tags: children books reading parenting wp

I write by stealing time. The hours in the day have never felt as if they belonged to me. The greatest number has belonged to my day job as a physician and professor of medicine — eight to 12 hours, and even more in the early days. Lest it sound as if I resent my day job, I have to say that my day job is the reason I write, and it has been the best thing for me as a writer. Indeed, when I am asked for writing advice, which is rare, I offer this: Get a good day job, one that you love, preferably one that consumes you and that puts your boat out in the river of life. Then be passionate about it, give it your all, get good at what you do. All that gives you plenty to write about, and it also takes the pressure off the writing. Counting on writing to pay the mortgage or your kid’s college tuition is decidedly risky…
The current obsession for parents to be everything to their children, from purveyor of Mozart in utero to muse, coach, camp counselor and chauffeur to as many enriching activities as one can afford ultimately produces parents who accomplish too little at work. I wonder if it produces children who are more accomplished than the parents who had none of these things…
What remains, then, is the time that belongs to sleep. And it is most often from that cache that I must steal. It’s not a happy or ideal arrangement; I have as much need for sleep as the next person. I wake up wanting more sleep, and even on days when I plan to catch up on my deficit and go to sleep early, a novel or something else keeps me reading past the 15 minutes I allow myself.

tags: author writing life wp

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