It was almost a side-effect that this caused me to educate myself to a degree which was beyond anything a school could hope to achieve. My own appetite for knowledge and reading and connection had led me, and that is how education works, not by spoon-feeding, but by stimulating the appetite so that children cannot wait to feed themselves.
Librarians who are arguing and lobbying for clever ebook lending solutions are completely missing the point. They are defending library as warehouse as opposed to fighting for the future, which is librarian as producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario.
Since Betty was on the pill or took precautions of her own which Graham did not choose to enquire into, the marital bed was untrammelled by tedious prophylaxis so that what Graham had been expecting to find an onerous and even distasteful duty unexpectedly partook of a freedom and absence of restraint that he found exhilerating.
Pass the parcel. That's sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it, and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That's the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.
Books are not about passing the time. They're about other lives. Other worlds.
We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.
A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.
All knowledge is precious whether or not it serves the slightest human use.
I do not long for the world as it was when I was a child. I do not long for the person I was in that world. I do not want to be the person I am now in that world then. None of the forms nostalgia can take fits. I found childhood boring. I was glad it was over.
I've never seen the point of the sea, except where it meets the land. The shore has a point. The sea has none.
Teachers need to feel they are trusted. They must be allowed some leeway to use their imagination; otherwise, teaching loses all sense of wonder and excitement.
Still, to be urged to write and to be urged to publish are two different things and nobody so far was urging her to do the latter.
Above literature?' said the Queen. 'Who is above literature? You might as well say one was above humanity.
How do I define history? It's just one fucking thing after another.
To her, though, nothing could have been more serious, and she felt about reading what some writers felt about writing: that it was impossible not to do it and that at this late stage of her life she had been chosen to read as others were chosen to write.
Those who have known the famous are publicly debriefed of their memories, knowing as their own dusk falls that they will only be remembered for remembering someone else.
All the effort went into getting there and then I had nothing left. I thought I'd got somewhere, then I found I had to go on.
Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. Good-looking people marry good-looking people and the others take what's left.
But then books, as I'm sure you know, seldom prompt a course of actions. Books generally just confirm you in what you have, perhaps unwittingly, decided to do already. You go to a book to have your convictions corroborated. A book, as it were, closes the book.
I always like to break out and address the audience. In 'The History Boys', for instance, without any ado, the boys will suddenly turn and talk to the audience and then go back into the action. I find it more adventurous doing it in prose than on the stage, but I like being able to make the reader suddenly sit up.
I can't complain that I've had a public all through my writing life, but people don't quite know what I've written. People don't read you too closely. Perhaps, after I've died, they'll look at my stuff, and read it through, and find there's more in it. That may be wrong, but that's what I comfort myself with.
Children always assume the sexual lives of their parents come to a grinding halt at their conception.
I have to seem like a human being all the time, but I seldom have to be one. I have people to do that for me.
Libraries are very special spaces, spaces where people come together in separate but joint pursuits of knowledge, of learning. Libraries are the heartbeats of communities.
I write plays about things that I can't resolve in my mind. I try to root things out.
Once I start a book I finish it. That was the way one was brought up. Books, bread and butter, mashed potato - one finishes what's on one's plate. That's always been my philosophy.
To begin with, it's true, she read with trepidation and some unease. The sheer endlessness of books outfaced her and she had no idea how to go on; there was no system to her reading, with one book leading to another, and often she had two or three on the go at the same time.
If you think squash is a competitive activity, try flower arranging.
Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it's now or never.
I think of literature,' she wrote, 'as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach. And I have started to late. I will never catch up.
The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something undeferring about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included. Literature, she thought, is a commonwealth; letters a republic.
I don't want to see libraries close; I want to find local solutions that will make them sustainable.
I think the need for reading boils down to one simple issue: children are selfish. Reading about other people creates a sense of balance in a child's life. It gives them the knowledge that there is a world outside themselves. It tells them that the language they are learning at home is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the greater world.
History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.
She‘d never taken much interest in reading. She read, of course, as one did, but liking books was something she left to other people.
Feeling I'd scarcely arrived at a style, I now find I'm near the end of it. I'm not quite sure what Late Style means except that it's some sort of licence, a permit for ageing practitioners to kick their heels up.
Definition of a classic: a book everyone is assumed to have read and often thinks they have.
Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.
Too late. It was all too late. But she went on, determined as ever and always trying to catch up.
One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation.
But what is it all about, what am I trying to do, is there a message? Nobody knows, and I certainly don't. If one could answer these questions in any other way than by writing what one has written, then there would be no point in writing at all.
I'd somehow always thought of the classics of literature as something apart from me, something to do with academic life and not something you enjoyed.
Full-blooded romantic love I wouldn't be able to write about.
And it occurred to her that reading was, among other things, a muscle and one that she had seemingly developed. She could read the novel with ease and great pleasure, laughing at remarks, they were hardly jokes, that she had not even noticed before.
What people want to read often seems incongruous. A pair of biker-types taking away Thoughts of the Dalai Lama. People without access to instruments requesting sheet music. Aspiring poets sharing their work and then borrowing horror stories.