Critical Linking: September 25, 2012


A literary citizen is an aspiring writer who understands that you have to contribute to, not just expect things from, the publishing world.

I’d go a step further; you have to want to contribute, not just contribute because it is somehow expected.


But just because something is better (in your opinion) than many of its peer works does not mean that it is a commentary on its medium, or that the medium ceases to apply. The critic’s assumption that “comic book” connotes “low culture” doesn’t make the work at hand any less of a comic book, or any less of an artistic achievement.

Man, this blog post is so good, it transcends blogs and should be in a proper magazine.


Others, though – Charles Dickens and Henry James for example, couldn’t begin without the right names. They used to keep lists of possible names for future use. They collected them from previous literature, newspapers, official lists, or even advertisements on the side of vans, and agonized over which was the most appropriate name for a character. It was as if they had to know the true name before the character came into focus, or into existence; as if only one name was exactly right for the character’s personality and social standing.

Both James and Dickens have some of the all-time great character names. Dickens for eccentricity and James for specificity.


As tens of thousands of children returned to school earlier this month, the National Literacy Trust’s report Children’s and Young People’s Reading Today informed us that only 30 per cent of children and teenagers read books daily in their own time. In 2005, the figure was 40 per cent. 

Wow, down a quarter in just 7 years. 

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