POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Mar 12, 2015 AT 21:55 IST ,  Edited At: Mar 12, 2015 21:55 IST

Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld fantasy series of novels died at the age of 66 "with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family".

His publisher, Transworld, described him as one of the "brightest, sharpest minds" of the world.

20 quotable quotes from Sir Terry Pratchett on life, the universe and everything:

  1. In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.
  2. Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
  3. Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don't find out til too late that he's been playing with two queens all along.
  4. They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.
  5. Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
  6. The ideal death, I think, is what was the ideal Victorian death, you know, with your grandchildren around you, a bit of sobbing. And you say goodbye to your loved ones, making certain that one of them has been left behind to look after the shop.
  7. Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
  8. Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.
  9. Evolution was far more thrilling to me than the biblical account. Who would not rather be a rising ape than a falling angel? To my juvenile eyes, Darwin was proved true every day. It doesn't take much to make us flip back into monkeys again.
  10. If you are going to write, say, fantasy - stop reading fantasy. You've already read too much. Read other things; read westerns, read history, read anything that seems interesting, because if you only read fantasy and then you start to write fantasy, all you're going to do is recycle the same old stuff and move it around a bit.
  11. It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases - one was Alzheimer's, and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer's.
  12. It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It's called living.
  13. Death isn't cruel - merely terribly, terribly good at his job.
  14. Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.
  15. I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts. That way everyone's happy.
  16. By the time you've reached your sixties, you do know that one day you will die, and knowing that is at least the beginning of wisdom.
  17. I didn't go to university. Didn't even finish A-levels. But I have sympathy for those who did.
  18. I intend, before the endgame looms, to die sitting in a chair in my own garden with a glass of brandy in my hand and Thomas Tallis on the iPod. Oh, and since this is England, I had better add, 'If wet, in the library.' Who could say that this is bad?
  19. I believe in freedom. Not many people do, although they will of course protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.
  20. If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That's what people remember.

Also see: Terry Pratchett on the need to talk about dementia

The last few tweets from Pratchett's Twitter account which he shared with his friend Rob Wilkins:

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Mar 12, 2015 AT 21:55 IST, Edited At: Mar 12, 2015 21:55 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST

Finally, 15 years after the literary feud between Salman Rushdie and John Le Carré erupted in the letters pages of the Guardian in 1997, the latter has told the London Times "that their mutual loathing has finally come to an end."

Back in 1997, Rushdie had accused Le Carré  of promoting censorship and had gone on to characterise him as a "dunce" and a " pompous ass.'' Christopher Hitchens too had jumped in the exchange and said that Mr Le Carré 's conduct reminded him " that of a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head." 

"Two rabid ayatollahs could not have done a better job. But will the friendship last?" Mr Le Carré had countered, pointing out that he was more concerned about saving lives than about Mr Rushdie's royalties, and that Mr Rushdie was ''self-canonizing'' and ''arrogant.''

Mr Rushdie was allowed the last word by the newspaper, and had gone on to say about Mr Le Carré:  It's true I did call him a pompous ass, which I thought pretty mild in the circumstances. "Ignorant" and "semi-literate" are dunces' caps he has skilfully fitted on his own head.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST, Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 01, 2012 AT 23:16 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 01, 2012 23:16 IST

NYT: Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer:

Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, where he moved in 2003, after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was 86. 

The cause was complications of pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers said by telephone.

Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right. Few American writers have been more versatile or gotten more mileage from their talent. He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM. And he could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy. 

A quick sampler: 40 Quotes:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 01, 2012 AT 23:16 IST, Edited At: Aug 01, 2012 23:16 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jun 01, 2011 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Jun 01, 2011 23:59 IST

Video embed courtesy: the New Yorker which credits Reza Aslan for the video who, according to the New Yorker, "was in the green room when Paul Theroux and V. S. Naipaul had their encounter. Aslan happened to be taking a video with his phone, when, to his surprise, Theroux approached Naipaul and offered his hand. As Aslan put it on his Twitter feed (he’s @rezaaslan): “Holy Cow! I caught first face to face reconciliation of Paul Theroux & VS Naipaul. Magical moment.”

As the New Yorker's the Book Bench notes:

(Note: the audio isn’t stellar, but you can just hear Theroux tell Naipaul that he’s missed him, and Naipaul say, “When you get old...” a beginning which we can perhaps all complete for ourselves. You can also hear the amused tone in Nadira Naipaul’s voice as she shakes hands and tells Theroux it’s nice to see him.)

More at the New Yorker
 
As Patrick Kingsley in the Guardian noted the other day:
Spotting Naipaul in the green room at the Hay festival, Theroux turned to McEwan and asked what he should do. "Life is short," McEwan replied. "You should say hello." And with that, handbags were holstered.
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POSTED BY Buzz ON Jun 01, 2011 AT 23:59 IST, Edited At: Jun 01, 2011 23:59 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 27, 2008 AT 06:05 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 27, 2008 06:58 IST
Once there was Lalu who wanted to make the roads of Bihar "like Hema Malini's cheeks". And now there is General Mirza Aslam Beg, Pakistan's former chief of army staff, offering us some exquisite prose
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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 27, 2008 AT 06:05 IST, Edited At: Dec 27, 2008 06:58 IST
     
 
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