Irish author Maeve Binchy (left) presented with a trophy by Declan Kiberd, the chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin
I have been blessed with friends who do things rather than buy things: friends who will change books at the library, take a bag of your old clothes to a thrift store, bring you cuttings and plant them in a window box, fill the bird feeder in your garden when you can't get out.
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 wont 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.
—Maeve Binchy, in the April 2008 issue of O the Oprah Magazine