CRITICAL LINKING: January 28, 2012

Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.

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“And the answer is that the acts of writing and reading themselves, the practice of mining our intellectual and emotional resources, of taxing our brains and our souls, of pushing ourselves into new and uncomfortable places, of forcing ourselves to inhabit characters and endure their lots, makes us more expansive people, more understanding, thoughtful, empathetic people. Better problem solvers, better wives and husbands, better dads, and better friends. This is why we write books, and this is why we read them. Because they edify, they inform, they open the door to empathy.”

I really do hope this is true.

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“As I considered his lack of response, I’m afraid to say I felt the old crushing ennui descend, and, before I quite knew what I was about, I’d swung a hatchet at him. When no rejoinder from him was forthcoming, I did so again, until his neck cracked like that of an especially recalcitrant fox, and, not to put too fine a point on it, before time’s winged chariot had covered much more ground I found I’d managed to murder the fellow in what you might, were you of a judicial persuasion, describe as cold blood.”

Weirdly, American Psycho is even creepier when P.G. Wodehouse is writing it.

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“But he helped fill that summer, my first summer in publishing, with a sense of innocence and magic that many of us once felt for this business.  I would like to have it back.”

A nice sentiment, but kinda also explains why Amazon has disrupted the industry over the span of only about ten years.

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“Once you’ve published something, you’re done. You can’t defend it. You can’t make someone like you. There is nothing you can do once a reader has reached his or her own conclusions. All you will feel from those reviews is awful. You may even feel bad about the five-star reviews, if you think they’re misinterpreting you.”

As usual, the hard advice is the right advice.

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