Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work.
The existence of good bad literature — the fact that one can be amused or excited or even moved by a book that one’s intellect simply refuses to take seriously — is a reminder that art is not the same thing as cerebration.
Power, for the writer….lies in his ability to reveal if only a little bit more about the complexity of humanity.
on race, identity, and the civic responsibility of the writer – a rare 1966 interview.
The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.
Literary characters are physically vague—they have only a few features, and these features don’t matter. Or, these features only matter in that they help narrow a character’s meaning. But these features don’t help us picture a character. Characters are ciphers. And narratives are made richer by omission.
– beautiful essay by Peter Mendelsund
exploring the layer of imagination we each bring to stories.
Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.
Why hadn’t I realized how much of what I thought of as love was simply my own highly developed gift for making lemonade? What failure of imagination had caused me to forget that life was full of other possibilities, including the possibility that eventually I would fall in love again?
American society has a remarkable ability to resist change, or to take whatever change has taken place and attempt to make it go away.
Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.
Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
You are born with a whole novel’s worth of errors ahead of you.
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
- Never open a book with the weather.
- Avoid prologues.
- Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
- Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
- Keep your exclamation points under control!
- Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
- Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
- Same for places and things.
- Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.