Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 10:28 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 10:28 | SYDNEY

Eight year-old to Christopher Hitchens: 'What books should I read?'


Sam Roggeveen


14 October 2011 10:37

This is an inspiring little story from Houston, Texas, where an ailing Christopher Hitchens was attending an award ceremony in his honour. He was fielding questions from the audience, and an eight year-old girl approached the microphone to ask what books she should read. 

The account of the exchange written by Mason Crumpacker's mother is worth reading in full — it's a fillip to anyone having doubts about leading a life of the mind. Here I'll just extract the thank-you note young Mason wrote to Hitchens the next day, which would make any parent proud:

Dear Mr. Hitchens,

Thank you for your kindness to me and all of the wonderful books you recommended to help me think for myself. Thank you also for taking my question very seriously. When I was talking to you I felt important because you treated me like a grown up. I feel very fortunate to have met you. I think more children should read books. I also think that all adults should be honest to children like you to me. For the rest of my life I will remember and cherish our meeting and will try to continue to ask questions.


P.S. I would like to start with “The Myths” by Robert Graves.

(H/t 3QD.)