Lev Grossman - Quotes

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I loved fantasy, but I particularly loved the stories in which somebody got out of where they were and into somewhere better - as in the 'Chronicles Of Narnia,' 'The Wizard Of Oz,' 'The Phantom Tollbooth,' the 'Dungeons & Dragons' cartoon on Saturday morning in the '80s. ---->>>

Supposedly I've got traces of an English accent, though I can't hear it. I must have inherited it from my mother, who's English, and then I think it was exacerbated by the fact that I live with an Australian. ---->>>

How often have I met and disliked writers whose books I love; and conversely, hated the books and then wound up liking the writer? Too often. ---->>>

Oddly, the meanings of books are defined for me much more by their beginnings and middles than they are by their endings. ---->>>

Every year the literary press praises dozens if not hundreds of novels to the skies, asserting explicitly or implicitly that these books will probably not be suffering water damage in the basements of their authors' houses 20 years from now. But historically, anyway, that's not the way the novelistic ecology works. ---->>>

I went to college at Harvard, then did three years of graduate school at Yale. At both places I studied comparative literature. People find it odd that I went to both Harvard and Yale, and I guess it is odd, but that's just what people did where I grew up. ---->>>

I'm not one of your knockabout, knuckle-scarred, Internet-controversy-courting book critics. Occasionally I stumble into controversy accidentally, but not because I enjoy it. It's probably just because I'm a weird person. ---->>>

I started thinking about the endings of novels not because I think endings are so important, but because I think they're actually not as important as they're sometimes given credit for. ---->>>

One already feels like an anachronism, writing novels in the age of what-ever-this-is-the-age-of, but touring to promote them feels doubly anachronistic. The marketplace is showing an increasing intolerance for the time-honored practice of printing information on paper and shipping it around the country. ---->>>

The paradox of the English country house is that its state of permanent decline, the fact that its heyday is always behind it, is part of the seduction, just as it is part of the seduction of books in general. ---->>>

I read a lot of literary theory when I was in graduate school, especially about novels, and the best book I ever read about endings was Peter Brooks' 'Reading for the Plot. ' ---->>>

I think every fantasy reader secretly believes they know how magic works. ---->>>

I'm happy to report that 'The New Press' is still in business to this day. But not thanks to me. I was a really bad publishing intern. ---->>>

I have spent many, many hours reading J.K. Rowling's work. I am a known 'Harry Potter' fan. ---->>>

Growing up in the '70s and '80s, science fiction and especially fantasy had such a stigma attached to them. I felt so punished and exiled for being devoted to these things. ---->>>

I got my first whiff of what big-time adult literature was all about when I was in 8th grade. I got it from Mark Linn-Baker. You know - the guy from 'Perfect Strangers.' ---->>>

I love rare books. Not that I own a lot of them, mind you. You couldn't quite call me a rare-book collector. But I did once work in a rare-books library, and I wrote a novel about a rare book. ---->>>

I used to write in a local coffee shop, but there was another guy, another writer, who kept sitting in my favorite seat. I would show up, and he would be there, and I would get exiled to a couch or something, and it would throw me off my game. ---->>>

It's no longer possible to simply build English country houses out of words, because they've already been so thoroughly described that all the applicable words have been used up, and one is forced to build them instead out of words recycled and scavenged from other descriptions of other country houses. ---->>>

Until now, I've been a kind of binge-writer - I'll carve out five or six hours on a weekend day and make a large container of espresso and just bang out a lot of words. ---->>>

I've drunk Amazon's free Diet Coke. Nothing makes more sense to me than a company trying to make bookselling into a profitable business. I'm not anti-Amazon, and I'm not pro-publishers either. I'm pro-books. ---->>>

I've only read three books by Stephen King. When I was 10 I read 'The Long Walk,' one of his pseudonymous Bachman books. In my early 20s, while trapped on a family vacation, I read 'The Dark Half,' which taught me a word I have never forgotten: psychopomp. Now I have read '11/22/63.' ---->>>

It's a great thing when you feel that you recognize yourself, deeply and movingly, in a work of literature. ---->>>

Becoming an author changes your attitude too. Once you see where books come from, and how they're made, they never seem quite as sacred again. ---->>>

I came from an anxious, overly intense East Coast academic family. That was the way of our tribe. ---->>>

And I'm not as young as I once was. At my age, I don't have time to be bored. ---->>>

Being a writer can be isolating. It's good to be among readers and booksellers. ---->>>

My book group has one rule: no books for adults. We read young adult fiction only. ---->>>

When it comes to true humility in the face of history, nothing beats complete silence. ---->>>

A novel with a bad middle is a bad book. A bad ending is something I've just gotten in the habit of forgiving. ---->>>

Book tours are excellent things, and one is lucky to get to go on one, but they have a way of leeching away one's will to live. ---->>>

I guess I was raised in a household with a lot of reverence for the physical sanctity of books. You didn't destroy books. ---->>>

I mean, when you're tired of book reviews, you're tired of life. ---->>>

I never thought about doing a sequel when I was actually writing 'The Magicians.' I only ever considered it a standalone. ---->>>

I recognize that on paper, you can't really tell that I'm a fan or a nerd. ---->>>

I studied the cello for a long time, from when I was little up through college. ---->>>

I've stayed in houses that were in the country, and in England, but I'm still not sure that I've stayed in an English country house. ---->>>

It's a terrible thing for a book, when you feel like you're supposed to like it. ---->>>

It's natural for a child to assume that his or her own childhood is unremarkable. ---->>>

People - me included - want to get excited about books. Good books are a good thing. ---->>>

The novel is a highly corrupt medium, after all - in the end the vast majority of them simply aren't that great, and are destined to be forgotten. ---->>>

The real world is horrible. ---->>>

There's a special gut-check moment the first time you write a scene in which somebody casts a spell. ---->>>

What surprised me about 'The Casual Vacancy' was not just how good it was, but the particular way in which it was good. ---->>>

I've read plenty of J.G. Ballard, but I'm not really a Ballardian. I've met Ballardians, and I know when I can't compete. I like Ballard in his relatively unchallenging apocalyptic mode: 'Vermilion Sands,' 'The Drowned World,' 'The Burning World,' 'The Crystal World.' ---->>>

My specialty as a collector is books that almost have value. When I love a book, I don't buy the first edition, because those have become incredibly expensive. But I might buy a beat-up copy of the second edition, third printing, which looks almost exactly the same as the first edition except that a couple of typos have been fixed. ---->>>

When I got to college I simply decided that I could speak French, because I just could not spend any more time in French classes. I went ahead and took courses on French literature, some of them even taught in French. ---->>>

A lot of young-adult authors, great ones, have tried their hands at literary fiction, and not a lot of them have succeeded. Not even Roald Dahl could switch-hit, and not for lack of trying. ---->>>

Even though I have spent literally years of my life trying to learn another language, any other language - and even though I have in the past claimed in several key professional contexts that I speak other languages - I am in fact still trapped inside the bubble of English. ---->>>

Hating a book is not unlike hating a person; in fact it's tempting to just go ahead and hate the author personally, by proxy, qua human being, except that I know that would be a mistake. ---->>>

I don't know if I've ever derived such an immediate sense of calm and well-being from any book as I did from 'Right Ho, Jeeves.' It was like I was Pac-Man and the book was a power-up. ---->>>

I ought to at least be able to read literature in French. I went to an enlightened grade school that started us on French in fifth grade, which meant that by the time I graduated high school I had been at it for eight years. ---->>>

I'm not a Dickens guy. In grad school I had to take at least one course on the Victorians, so I took The Later Dickens, because that was what there was. ---->>>

It seems to me that the novel as a medium has a very low signal-to-noise ratio. By which I mean: there are a lot of novels published, but the vast majority of them don't represent major contributions to the medium. ---->>>

It's not really possible to open 'The Casual Vacancy' without a lot of expectations both high and low crashing around in your brain and distorting your vision. There's no point pretending they're not there. ---->>>

More than fantasy or even science fiction, Ray Bradbury wrote horror, and like so many great horror writers he was himself utterly without fear, of anything. He wasn't afraid of looking uncool - he wasn't scared to openly love innocence, or to be optimistic, or to write sentimentally when he felt that way. ---->>>

The year after I graduated college I had a job in a library. When people underlined passages in the library books, or made notes in the margins, the books were sent to me. I erased the lines and the notes. Yes, that was my job. ---->>>

When I left college I thought - based on a staggeringly inadequate understanding of how the world worked - that I might like to go into book publishing. ---->>>

Which is the healthier kind of literary diversity: an un-gate-kept self-published book world, run substantially through Amazon? Or our current book world, which is part-gate-kept, part-not, with many different publishers and retailers and platforms? I'm not smart enough to figure it out, but if I had to guess I'd guess the latter. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 06-26, 1969
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Novelist
Website:

Lev Grossman (born June 26, 1969) is an American novelist and journalist, notably the author of the novels Warp (1997), Codex (2004), The Magicians (2009), The Magician King (2011), and The Magician's Land (2014). He is a senior writer and book critic for TIME.(wikipedia)