And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.
It is very sad to me that some people are so intent on leaving their mark on the world that they don’t care if that mark is a scar.
No matter how people mess with you or let you down, or how you let yourself down, a good book means that when you get in bed that night, you have a good hour. I feel like you pay all day for that hour. That’s what books mean to me. I can open this two-dimensional, flat white page with squiggly little black marks on them, and someone has created this world that you’re going to enter into …
…you, the privileged, the chosen, the pampered, with nothing to do but go to school, hang out, do a little studying, go to college, get into a money-making racket, grow into your fat forties, still whining, still complaining, when there are millions around the world who’d offer fingers and toes to be in your seats, nicely clothed, well fed, with the world by the balls.
We need to eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.
There are some days when bourbon and coke just make things better.
No one has ever become poor by giving.
Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.
Patti Smith, Just Kids (acceptance speech at the 2010 National Book Awards)