One of my favorite books when I was younger was Irish author Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends (remember the move version, starring Chris O’Donnell and Minnie Driver?). I was utterly engrossed in the story and went on to read several more of her books as a teenager. Odd as it may sound, I completely identify with Alison Flood of The Guardian: "Together with Stephen King, Binchy is the author who, for me, bridged the gap between childhood reading and adult."
Yesterday brought the sad news that Maeve Binchy -- author of Circle of Friends, Light a Penny Candle, Tara Road, and more -- has died at the age of 72.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny referred to her as "a national treasure," and Ireland's president Michael D. Higgins said, "She was an outstanding novelist, short story writer, and columnist, who engaged millions of people all around the world with her fluent and accessible style."
In honor of Maeve Binchy, here are 10 memorable quotes from the well-loved author:
I believe very, very strongly that everybody is the hero/heroine of his/her own life. I try to make my characters kind of ordinary, somebody that anybody could be. Because we've all had loves, perhaps love and loss, people can relate to my characters.
I don't have ugly ducklings turning into swans in my stories. I have ugly ducklings turning into confident ducks.
I was very pleased, obviously, to have outsold such great writers. But I'm not insane - I do realize that I am a popular writer who people buy to take on vacation. (…) I didn't think for a moment that I was better than any of these people, I was just lucky I lived in this time of mass-market paperback.
Everybody has always loved eating in Ireland and the family always gathered around the table - which was also where all the stories were told.
You can't lay down laws for what people think and hope.
We're nothing if we're not loved. When you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself, that has to be the most important thing in life, really.
The most important thing to realise is that everyone is capable of telling a story. It doesn’t matter where we were born or how we grew up.
I don’t say I was proceeding down a thoroughfare, I say I walked down the road. I don’t say I passed a hallowed institute of learning, I say I passed a school. You don’t wear all your jewellery at once – you’re much more believable if you talk in your own voice.
My health isn't so good these days and I can't travel around to meet people the way I used to. But I'm always delighted to hear from readers, even if it takes me a while to reply.
What do I do for friends? Not enough, but I can help them write difficult letters because I know writing should always be shorter rather than longer and clearer rather than more complicated. I make lists of good DVDs to rent so they won't be perplexed at the store. I take great pictures of them at happy times and send them copies, and I show them how to construct a family tree, which they always end up loving. Never mind the money, the gifts of time and skill call into being the richest marketplace in the world.
Are you a Maeve Binchy fan?
Image via Maeve Binchy