The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.
What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.
I have never understood disliking for war. It panders to instincts already catered for within the scope of any respectable domestic establishment.
You don't put your life into your books, you find it there.
We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.
How do I define history? It's just one fucking thing after another
Clichés can be quite fun. That's how they got to be clichés.
One recipe for happiness is to have to sense of entitlement.' To this she added a star and noted at the bottom of the page: 'This is not a lesson I have ever been in a position to learn.
A book is a device to ignite the imagination.
[B]riefing is not reading. In fact it is the antithesis of reading. Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.
The days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.
...to her all books were the same and, as with her subjects, she felt a duty to approach them without prejudice...Lauren Bacall, Winifred Holtby, Sylvia Plath - who were they? Only be reading could she find out.
Books are not about passing time. They're about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time one could go to New Zealand.
Can there be any greater pleasure than to come across an author one enjoys and then to find they have written not just one book or two, but at least a dozen?
When they arrived at the palace she had a word with Grant, the young footman in charge, who said it was security and that while ma'am had been in the Lords the sniffer dogs had been round and security had confiscated the book. He though it had probably been exploded. 'Exploded?' said the Queen. 'But it was Anita Brookner.
Books are not about passing the time. They're about other lives. Other worlds.
Archbishop. Why do I never read the lesson?” “I beg your pardon, ma’am?” “In church. Everybody else gets to read and one never does. It’s not laid down, is it? It’s not off-limits?” “Not that I’m aware, ma’am.” “Good. Well in that case I’m going to start. Leviticus, here I come. Goodnight.” The archbishop shook his head and went back to Strictly Come Dancing.
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.
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.