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 Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 06, 2015 AT 21:56 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 06, 2015 21:56 IST

The Gawker Review of Books put together a list of literature's best opening sentences. 

As Stephen King put it: "An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story...It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this."

Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice come to mind when one thinks of classic opening sentences in fiction. 

We give you 10 best ones from Gawker's list of 50:

"The time has come."
—Dr. Seuss, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!

"They shoot the white girl first." 
—Toni Morrison, Paradise

"The man who had had the room before, after having slept the sleep of the just for hours on end, oblivious to the worries and unrest of the recent early morning, awoke when the day was well advanced and the sounds of the city completely invaded the air of the half-opened room." 
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dialogue with the Mirror

"Pale freckled eggs." 
—Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." 
—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

"Don't look for dignity in public bathrooms."
—Victor LaValle, Big Machine

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." 
—Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

"You better not never tell nobody but God." 
—Alice Walker, The Color Purple

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York." 
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

"Dear Anyone Who Finds This, Do not blame the drugs." 
—Lynda Barry, Cruddy

Do tell us which opening sentences from literature you absolutely love.

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FILED IN:  Literature
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Feb 06, 2015 AT 21:56 IST, Edited At: Feb 06, 2015 21:56 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Aug 22, 2014 AT 18:31 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 22, 2014 18:31 IST

On the 94th birth anniversary of Ray Bradbury, best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, here is a 1963 documentary on the writer by David L. Wolper -- Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer which captures all the contradictions that the late writer embodied.

Happy Watching.

From archives, also see: Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), R.I.P.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON Aug 22, 2014 AT 18:31 IST, Edited At: Aug 22, 2014 18:31 IST
POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 28, 2014 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: May 28, 2014 20:15 IST

Do you have a favourite Maya Angelou quote? Share it with us in the comments section.

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POSTED BY Outlook Web Desk ON May 28, 2014 AT 20:15 IST, Edited At: May 28, 2014 20:15 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 24, 2013 AT 01:06 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 24, 2013 01:06 IST

Janet Maslin in the NYT: Elmore Leonard: A Man of Few, Yet Perfect, Words:

Mr. Leonard, who died [last] Tuesday, will forever be admired for the sheer irresistibility of the stories he told. But his legacy is much larger. He was the most influential, widely imitated crime writer of his era, and his career was a long one: more than 60 years.

After he had worked in advertising long enough to learn to appreciate brevity and catchiness, he began writing pulp westerns. They weren’t that different from the crime books that would come later. The talk was tight and crisp, the action even more so, though Mr. Leonard also kept readers slightly off balance.

“You come to see me. How do you know I’m here?” the title character is asked in “Valdez Is Coming” (1970).

“You or somebody else,” Valdez replies. “It doesn’t matter.”

Mr. Leonard’s books did most of their work through dialogue, some of it hard-boiled, some delectably funny. Either way, the syntax was contagious, to the point where Mr. Leonard’s writing voice echoes every time another crime writer drops a subject or pronoun, links unrelated clauses with just a comma.

Martin Amis called attention to Mr. Leonard’s much-copied use of the present participle: “Warren Ganz, living up in Manalapan” was his way of saying “Warren Ganz lived up in Manalapan.” Just as distinctive were his capsule descriptions, like this one from “Djibouti,” about Somali pirates: “They on the sauce gettin millions for their ransom notes.” 

Read on at the NYT: Elmore Leonard: A Man of Few, Yet Perfect, Words

And, of course, we have his Ten Rules of Writing:

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FILED IN:  Literature|Obituaries
POSTED BY Buzz ON Aug 24, 2013 AT 01:06 IST, Edited At: Aug 24, 2013 01:06 IST
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