Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Best of Connie Willis (Quotes)

Over the years books have helped me in so many, many ways, but for the most part I have felt alone in my reading life. So often when I have wanted to talk about something from a book that has moved me, I have been shushed or worse – I have a friend that believes that reading science fiction is a sign of mental illness – Alexander McCall Smith, Debbie Macomber (Blossom Street Series), and Connie Willis are among authors who have repeatedly touched my heart. Near the back of The Best of Connie Willis is a “bonus section”-- which to me is worth more than the price of the book—that contains her Worldcom Guest of Honor Speech and an undelivered Grand Master Backup Speech. These two selections say so much that is in my own heart about books and make me feel that there is at least one other person out there who has a similar experience. I would love to see a slightly edited version of the speeches made into an illustrated book, which those of us who have been saved by books can read over and over again. Below are some brief excerpts:

[Books] saved my life. I know what you’re thinking, that the books provided an escape for me. And it’s certainly true books can offer refuge from worries and despair. …. But it wasn’t escape I need when my mother died. It was the truth. And I couldn’t get anyone to tell it to me…. I found what I was looking for, what I needed, what I wanted, what I loved in books. 

Characters in stories grow up and go off on quests ….. and in the process they tell us about ourselves. They show us what matters and what doesn’t. They teach us how to be human. And tell us how our own stories might turn out.

Books can reach across space and time …. and speak to someone they have never met, to someone who hasn’t even been born when they were written and give them help and advice and companionship and consolation. 

I encourage anyone who loves books to read the speeches in their entirety.

No comments: