These stories are all true, but only somewhere else.
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
So wear your heart on your sleeve and if it bleeds, let it, so long as it still beats.
Society at large may not recognize it, but every morning when you go to your writing desks you’re up against not the Yankees but the literary tradition, two thousand years of great works to admire, learn from, compete against, and, hopefully, expand. It’s no small task you’ve set yourself. Don’t let anybody tell you different.
Our job as writers, as far as I can tell, is to attempt to express what seems inexpressible. The way we do this, I think, begins with a level of absolute attention to the world, which in and of itself is a difficult practice. But it doesn’t end there. Attention merely leads us to the threshold of the unknown, beyond which is where poetry lurks.
(Source: The Huffington Post)
A beautiful essay by Zadie Smith on the importance of libraries and bookstores in our community, and why we need them more than ever when we’re trying to close them up.
…there’s a certain set of magical things fiction can do for us. There’s maybe thirteen things, or which who even knows which ones we can talk about. But one of them has to do with the sense of, the sense of capturing, capturing what the world feels like to us, in the sort of way that I think that a reader can tell ‘Another sensibility like mine exists.’ Something else feels this way to someone else. So that the reader feels less lonely.
David Foster Wallace
Why teaching for the test, instead of for the love of literature, is hurting the students who need books the most.
Only about $1.25 of the price you pay for a physical book is actually going into the paper, glue, binding, etc. The bulk of the money is going to the production of a quality product - from attracting talented writers with advances to insightful editing, careful copyediting, and marketing to help the book stand out.
When Amazon sells the eBook version of a print book for $9.99 they’re absorbing the loss in order to control the market. But if the publishers all go under, leaving Amazon as the only viable source for books, Amazon will be then forced to create an inferior product to keep prices down. They can’t edit, copyedit, design, and promote books without additional costs. And if you need proof, just look at the eBook originals that Amazon sells now. Typos everywhere, whole books plagiarized off of internet sources, design like reading a Word Document and no way to tell which books will be good because there are just 25 million titles and aside from a few “top 10” lists, no way to discern quality (especially when 5-star ratings on Amazon can be bought).
Meaning that, once the publishers and booksellers do go under, we’ll all be looking at a market full of inferior quality books. Think about a book you really love - one that’s helped you solve problems, or inspired your creativity, or fueled your imagination, or provided hours and hours of entertainment… is that worth only $10 and no more? Think fast, because in a few years, you might not have the choice.
The retailer’s growing list of critics, however, argue that Amazon has $48 billion in revenue but hardly any profit, proof that its approach is opportunistic and unsustainable. When traditional publishers, booksellers and wholesalers are destroyed, these opponents say, Amazon will be left with a monopoly that will be detrimental to the larger health of the culture.
This article sums up the problem with Amazon really well. Also, kudos to EDC for dropping them!
If I could present theories directly and well, I might be tempted to do it, but as I can’t, I prefer to discuss the human heart through characterization, and to address the human condition through plot. Many of the masters do the same—Chekhov, Salinger, Austen. When a writer presses the pause buttons, turns to me and says, Now I’m going to tell you about life, dear reader, I think, This had better be damned good, and if it isn’t, this dear reader makes his excuses and heads for the exit.