In reality, every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument, which he offers to the reader to permit him to discern what, without the book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself. The reader’s recognition in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its truth. —Marcel Proust, Le temps retrouvé
I wasn’t so interested in the dinosaurs and ichthyosaurs and stuff because they’re kind of a cliché. Every elementary school kid goes through a phase of dinosaur love, and I wanted my knowledge base to be more subtle than that. So I skipped over the great lizards and in November, just around the time I’d started on the extinct Hominidae, my dad committed suicide again.