I guess whatever maturity is there may be there because I've been keeping a journal forever. In high school my friends would make fun of me - you're doing your man diary again. So I was always trying to translate experience into words.

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

I've always been so interested in both the visual beauty of mollusks and the tactile feel of them. As a kid, I collected them all the time.

I had the little Radio Shack crystal radio, and then my aunt Judy bought me a shortwave radio. It was amazing to me: like on these really clear nights - I lived in Ohio - I could get Texas or Florida. You felt like the world was a smaller place.

When people ask for book recommendations, I say this: Do some math. If you read one book every week for the rest of your life, and if you're lucky enough to live for 50 more years, you're only going to get to 2,600 books.

In my early 20s, a friend and I worked for a few months on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Working with ewes, I learned a lot about the power of wool - how it keeps you cool when you're hot, warm when you're cold, dry when you're wet.

It took me about three years to write About Grace. I wasn't teaching two of those years, so I was working eight-hour days, five days a week. And it would include research and reading - it wasn't just a blank page, laying down words.

Indeed, every book on my shelves is a key to a little vault of memories.

I kind of do all of this writing as a way of thinking and learning. I'm sure it's similar to being a journalist: You get to learn, and that's the greatest kind of job.

Sometimes, if you wander long enough out-of-doors, you look up and find yourself in a suddenly devastating place: on a glittering slab of granite, say, hanging a thousand feet above a mountain lake.

Basketball games - and seasons - make great narratives; they feature distinct acts, heroes and villains, and guaranteed resolutions.

The only books I give up on are texts where the writer's attention is concentrated so heavily on narrative questions that his or her use of language becomes careless.

Short stories are not maybe the biggest deal in our culture anymore.

Hour by hour, minute by minute, I make decisions that seem like the right things to do at the time but which prevent me from reflecting on the most significant, most critical fact in my life: Every day, I participate in a system that is weaponizing our big, gorgeous planet against our kids.

I think fiction is important because it has the power to transport a reader into another life.

You and I can go on YouTube and learn how to fix a tractor engine or learn Farsi. Groups are using those tools to recruit young people into a climate of hatred.