"A book has never put food in the stomach of a hungry child. A book has never stopped a bullet from entering a murder victim's body. A book has never prevented a bomb from falling on innocent civilians in the midst of war.
Some like to think that a keen appreciation of art can actually make us better people - more just, more moral, more sensitive, more understanding. Perhaps that is true - in certain rare, isolated cases. But let us not forget that Hitler started out in life as an artist. Tyrants and dictators read novels. Killers in prison read novels. And who is to say they don't derive the same enjoyment from books as everyone else?"
- PAUL AUSTER, in his acceptance speech for the Prince of Asturias Prize for Letters, Spain's premier literary honor. For the whole speech, published by The Observer, CLICK HERE