Critical Linking: August 29, 2013

 

Of all the characters, he is the one that I miss the most.

Rowling’s favorite Harry Potter character isn’t one of the big three. Surprised?

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Even if we read books and talk about them for four years, and then do something else more obviously remunerative, it won’t be time wasted. We need the humanities not because they will produce shrewder entrepreneurs or kinder C.E.O.s but because, as that first professor said, they help us enjoy life more and endure it better. The reason we need the humanities is because we’re human. That’s enough.

Yes, getting to enjoy art is one of life’s end-games, not a means to some other more pragmatic end.

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 We feverishly turn the pages of The Princess Bride not to find out whether Westley will come back from the dead—he will, three times in fact—but to see how Goldman will pull off his next Houdini escape. We read also for his playful, light touch, the charming vulnerability of his characters, and the deep satisfactions of a nimbly executed revenge plot. The novel is simultaneously a celebration and an exemplar of the joys of storytelling.

And it is also a book that has a wonderful film adaptation. Never hurts.

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Fitzgerald had a great ear, he heard the way people spoke, and he knew when to not overdo it. My own ear for overwriting has to do with my phobia of it. At this point, I would rather underwrite.”

I like how Franzen talks about himself right after talking about Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby.

 

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