On Aug. 24, John Green — author of such modern YA classics as The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Looking for Alaska — turns 40. And while we could spend this time marveling at all Green has accomplished before that milestone age, we’ve instead rounded up some of his best (and geekiest) quotes. Culled from interviews, books, and videos, here are 40 of our favorite Green gems. And we can’t wait to read more wise words in his forthcoming novel, Turtles All The Way Down, out Oct. 10.
Happy birthday, John Green!
- “The only thing I do is I change my keyboard between every book. I usually shop around. I’m very passionate about the physical feel of pressing the keys. It’s got to have the right springiness. I tend to find the built-in keys very unsatisfying, the keys are low-profile and don’t really do anything — I want it to feel like I’m typing.” — Interview with Goodreads
- “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.” — The Fault in Our Stars
- “That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.” — Paper Towns
- “Well, I mean, I’m aware of the fact that I live in 2013 and that the book is set in 2012, you know. But, you know, to be honest with you, I don’t know if this is going to sound unreasonably pretentious, but I expect readers to know what a hamartia is, and I expect them to know what Zeno’s paradox is.” — Interview with The Atlantic
- “I actually try to break my superstitions whenever possible, because it’s irrational. For a long time I believed, when I first started writing, that I couldn’t write well if I wasn’t smoking cigarettes — which is a very dangerous thing to believe, of course! As it turns out, the exact opposite was true. I couldn’t write well if I did smoke cigarettes. Looking for Alaska didn’t get any good until I quit smoking.”
- “Here’s my answer to the very real existential crisis that grips me midway through everything I’ve ever tried to do: I think stories help us fight the nihilistic urges that constantly threaten to consume us.” —NaNoWriMo Pep Talk
- “With Paper Towns I wanted to write a novel about the challenge of being stuck inside your own consciousness and not being able to live inside anyone else’s mind and how difficult that is.” — Interview with Time Out Dubai
- “The great thing about the Harry Potter fan community is that no one judges you. Being a nerd isn’t seen as a character defect.” — Excerpt from the introduction to This Star Won’t Go Out
- “The whole process of commodifying personhood to sell movie tickets is inherently dehumanizing. The TV people want some part of you, and in exchange for it, they will put the name of your movie on TV. But in that process, you do lose something of your self.” — Medium post
- “From a gender studies perspective, [Fifty Shades of Grey is] a worrisome novel.”
—An Abundance of Katherines