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Tag Archives: Author quotes

RIP Ray Bradbury.

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“My stories run up and bite me in the leg — I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.”

-Ray Bradbury

We’re sad to learn that one of our favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, has passed away today. He was 91 years old, a literary classic, and an influence and inspiration to many.

We have several of his books, including his acclaimed classic, Fahrenheit 451, about a future in which they burn the printed word. No books! It’s a dark place indeed.

We hope you’ll come and check it and some of his other works out, and we’ll leave you with one last quote from the master…

“People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.”

Author quotes: Burning books.

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Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. once said, “We must be careful what we pretend to be,”  which is one of my favorite quotes of all time, but Vonnegut was a highly opinionated and prolific author and essayist, and he was always a good source for a good quote or a witty turn of phrase.

The other day I got into a conversation with a few patrons not just about the need for intellectual curiosity in people, especially in this day and age, but the need for constant access to the tools that could inspire and grow that curiosity in these modern times, and it reminded me of something Vonnegut had said a few years before his death (in 2007):

“While on the subject of burning books, I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

And still on the subject of books: our daily news sources, newspapers and TV, are now so craven, so unvigilant on behalf of the American people, so uninformative, that only in books do we learn what’s really going on.”

-from A Man Without A Country, his 2005 memoir/essay collection.

You can find an excerpt from the book over at The Guardian, which includes the portion the above text comes from. Much of this book, and in particular this excerpt, are very political with Vonnegut discussing his disappointment in the then-current political climate of the country. Whether you agree with Vonnegut’s politics there or not, you have to admire that there are some nuggets of common sense true for all people, and that he always maintained a strong humanistic outlook on life.

Also, on a side note, in the paragraph preceding the above quote Vonnegut references Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, his documentary about the September 11 attacks and everything after, and reminds us that the title of the documentary is a reference/parody of Ray Bradbury’s great, classic science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451. That novel refers to the fact that 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the combustion point, at which paper and the information on it will burn.

The gist of it is this: Not to toot our own horn (too much) but libraries curate and cultivate information, and with information comes intelligence, which is never a bad thing and always in short supply. The library is a resource that you should never let go to waste.

by Eddie Campbell, from here.

Elsewhere on the internet:

Vonnegut’s obituary in The New York Times.

15 things Vonnegut said better than anyone else ever has or will.

Venus On The Half-Shell by Philip José Farmer under the name “Kilgore Trout.”

Vonnegut’s advice for writers.

Vonnegut’s story diagrams.

Harrison Bergeron,” Vonnegut’s classic short story.

An interview with Vonnegut in The Paris Review.

2BR02B,” a 1962 short story that appeared in Vonnegut’s third collection, Bagombo Snuff Box.

The Big Trip Up Yonder,” a short story that appeared in Vonnegut’s first two collections under different names.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis.

Dave Eggers reviews Vonnegut’s first collection of unpublished fiction.

At the library we have quite a few books both by Vonnegut and about his life and work, including When Mortals Sleep, a posthumous release of previously unpublished short fiction by the author, as well as And So It Goes – Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, a new biography of the author by Charles J. Shields, and…

Vonnegut And Hemingway: Writers At War by Lawrence Broer, which draws interesting parallels between these two literary artists, who previously might have been only been coupled together by how vastly different they were. Both were born under the spectre of hereditary insanity, forged in wartime experiences, and used their writing as a means of therapy and survival. And how much more fitting to see them linked, since Hemingway was our quoted author last week? I hope you’ll come and check them out.

Author quotes: Writing fiction.

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Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Here’s two more quotes from one of the greats of literature:

“You know that fiction, prose rather, is possibly the roughest trade of all in writing. You do not have the reference, the old important reference. You have the sheet of blank paper, the pencil, and the obligation to invent truer than things can be true. You have to take what is not palpable and make it completely palpable and also have it seem normal and so that it can become a part of experience of the person who reads it.”

-from a letter to Bernard Berenson on Sept. 24, 1954, published in Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters 1917-1961 edited by Carlos Baker

and

 “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

-from The New York Journal-American, July 11, 1961

from here.

Elsewhere on the internet:

Do Hemingway’s works still pack a literary punch?

The Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

Hemingway the war correspondent reported from Omaha Beach on D-Day.

The five words Hemingway said that gave Marlene Dietrich a whole philosophy for her life: “Never confuse movement with action.”

The full text of Hemingway’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1954.

The annual Hemingway look alike contest.

Rejection letters received by bestselling authors, including Ernest Hemingway.

Has the author’s death eclipsed his work?

And coming soon…

Clive Owen as Hemingway and Nicole Kidman as Martha Gellhorn, the journalist and novelist who went on to become Hemingway’s third wife, in Hemingway & Gellhorn, a movie directed by Philip Kaufman and will be appearing on HBO in May.

At the library we have quite a few books both by Hemingway and about his life and work. Come and check them out.