I don’t know about you, but I’m really getting tired of all the hating lately, especially in the book world. I mean, there’s the Franzen “I-hate-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink” thing, the Bret Easton Ellis “I’m-jealous-of-Alice-Munro-cause-she’s-a-better-writer” thing, the Sherman Aliexie – Brandon Halpin thing (Jill provides a great overview here), and, how could we forget, the David Gilmour “I-only-teach-books-by-manly-men-men” thing.
Now, I’m the last person to say, oh let’s all LOOOOVE each other and hug each other and kisses all around, mwah mwah mwah. But a little more civility and a little less dissing-and-dismissing is in order. Let’s talk about something positive.
With that in mind, here is a nice little list of things that famous writers LIKED. People they liked, objects, ideas, etc. etc. This is not something they specifically said, but what I’ve gathered from reading their books over the years. (And that photo of Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’Hara? Just warms my heart.)
1. Theodore Dreiser liked: the ladies, H. L. Mencken (off and on), the ladies, writing novels and stories about the ladies, hanging out with his brother Paul Dresser, and did I mention the ladies??
2. Mark Twain liked: making people laugh until they urinated on themselves, exposing the hypocrisies of imperialists and warmongers, and starring in really awesome Star Trek TNG episodes.
(And that necklace she’s wearing? Yeah, that’s from her author FRIEND Sarah Orne Jewett).
4. Sarah Orne Jewett liked: Maine, funky people from Maine, and the natural world.
5. H. G. Wells liked: aliens, his own imagination, and drawing/sketching.
6. Charles Dickens liked: keeping people on the edge of their seats waiting to see what he wrote next, bringing the London of his childhood to life in print, and Ellen Ternan (moooost definitely).
7. F. Scott Fitzgerald liked: partying like it’s 1929 (before the stock-market crash, of course!), Zelda, Hemingway (sometimes), and writing about the Jazz Age.
8. Franz Kafka liked: bugs, writing letters to his father, and telling friends to burn all of his writings when he died (thank goodness they didn’t listen to him).
9. Katherine Mansfield liked: playing the cello, German things, and churning out stunning short stories.
10. Frank Norris liked: painting, everything French, covering wars as a journalist and getting really really sick in the process, and trying to convince himself and everyone else that writing was SO VERY VERY VERY MANLY, LOOK HOW MANLY I AM, EVERYBODY!!!
Now go out and hug an author today. Or a book. Or both.
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