| What made you fall in love with books?
What made you fall in love with books – and how did it happen?
When you ask me “What do books mean to you?” that’s almost like asking me “What does life mean to you?” The whole issue is immeasurably vast, as books have been such an important part of my life. I have been deeply affected by different books which I have read at vital stages of my life. From John Fowles’s The Magus to so many others I can’t even begin to speak of. If I ever have a day to myself, I decide to take the whole day off to read. I still remember the wonderful experience when I first went to university and realised, as I walked into the library, that this was my sole purpose at this place: to read. It was the most enlightening feeling I’ve ever had.
What’s your favourite line from a book, play or poem?
The lines I’ve chosen come from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare was beyond a genius. He saw human behaviour from above the goalposts, from way up there, almost as if alongside a deity. Viva to all those writers who attempt to shed light on us so that we can see more clearly, if only for a little while. This passage is about the human condition, of creating illusions and living them out. It is the most brilliant piece of dialogue and goes with me everywhere to detox delusion. This passage comes straight after Mercutio’s rant about Queen Mab. Romeo answers him and says:
Romeo: Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk'st of nothing.
Mercutio: True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
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