"The nicest thing about feeling happy is that you think you'll never be unhappy again."
(When he was young, Argentinian author Manuel Puig (born December 28, 1932) dreamed of becoming a screenwriter. His screenwriting career never took off, but his novels received worldwide acclaim. One of them, The Kiss of the Spider Woman, was even adapted into an Oscar-nominated film.)
"That's what literature is. It's the people who went before us, tapping out messages from the past, from beyond the grave, trying to tell us about life and death! Listen to them!"
(The acclaimed science fiction writer introduced the world to her time-traveling historians in Fire Watch, a novelette that won the Hugo and Nebula Award. Since then, she's brought back the historians in her novels Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout, and All Clear.)
"We are flawed creatures, all of us. Some of us think that means we should fix our flaws. But get rid of my flaws and there would be no one left."
(Besides writing nonfiction books and serving as a contributing editor on This American Life, the American journalist has also starred in a Pixar movie. She was the voice of Violet in The Incredibles.)
"If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt?"
(The American writer's first major break was an essay called SantaLand Diaries, a humorous account of his experiences working as a Christmas elf at Macy's.)
"The heaviness of loss in her heart hadn't eased, but there was room there for humor, too."
(The Jamaican speculative fiction writer's mother was a library technician and her father was a poet. With all that literary influence surrounding her, she was reading Kurt Vonnegut's books by the age of six.)
"When I only begin to read, I forget I'm on this world. It lifts me on wings with high thoughts."
December 17, 1920: On this day, Anzia Yezierska told her editor that she had been offered $10,000 for the film rights to her debut book, Hungry Hearts. The offer had come as quite a shock to Yezierska—she had been offered only $200 when the book was sold.
"When you read a book, you hold another's mind in your hands."
(In 1973, the British broadcaster and author accurately predicted the widespread use of computers for business and personal applications.)
"I'm sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It's just been too intelligent to come here."
(Early on in his writing career, acclaimed science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke emigrated from England to Sri Lanka. Because of his dual status, he was able to receive a knighthood from the British government in 1998 and then the Sri Lankabhimanya, Sri Lanka's highest civil honor, in 2005.)
"I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe."
(The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Goldfinch was well on her way to literary stardom at the age of 18. Her writing gained her special admittance into a graduate short story course when she was just a freshman at the University of Mississippi.)
"Books are always obviously having conversations with other books, and some times they're amiable and sometimes not."
The award-winning fantasy writer (and self-proclaimed purveyor of "weird fiction") was named with a dictionary. His parents picked one up looking for a beautiful word—they nearly named their son "Banyan" before landing on China.
"That's what fiction is for. It's for getting at the truth when the truth isn't sufficient for the truth."
( His celebrated 1990 short story collection, The Things They Carried, blurs the line between fiction and reality. Some of the stories even seem to share characters with his previously published 1973 autobiographical book, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home.)
"A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy."
Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren created her most famous character, Pippi Longstocking, to amuse her young daughter. Today Lindgren is the third most translated children's book author after Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers.
"I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary."
(In addition to writing modern classics like The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin, the Canadian author is also a part-time inventor. She came up with the idea for the LongPen, a signing device that lets people write remotely in ink from anywhere in the world.)
"They were all brilliant. They wrote books and painted pictures, and if they ever stopped talking, which I was sure they would never do, they planned to change the world."
(When the American poet and novelist was a young girl, she dictated stories—and convinced her baby sitter to transcribe them.)
"People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned."
(November 27, 1947: On this day, Saul Bellow got a job offer. His father, perhaps unimpressed with his son's career as a novelist, offered to make him a mine supervisor at $10,000 a year.)
"A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe."
(On her 40th birthday, Madeleine L'Engle (born November 29, 1918) tried to give up writing. She was drowning in rejection letters and unable to help support her family. The writing break didn't last long, though—L'Engle couldn't stop jotting down her ideas. Five years later, she finally found success with her beloved science fiction classic, A Wrinkle in Time.)
"It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books."
(The Welsh-Canadian author has been writing books since she was 13. Her 2011 fantasy, Among Others, won the Hugo and the Nebula Award for Best Novel.)
"There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story."
(On a trip to Florence, Oregon, Frank Herbert studied the effects of sand dunes that could "swallow whole cities, lakes, rivers, highways." His article on the subject was never completed. Instead, ten years later, he published his epic science fiction novel, Dune.)
And this video. This makes me double-smile: