Haruki Murakami Lists the Three Essential Qualities For All Serious Novelists (And Runners)

≡ Category: Writing |1 Comment

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We’ve brought you a wealth of Haruki Murakami lately, and for good reason. Not only does the wildly popular Japanese novelist have a new novel out, he also has an upcoming novella, The Strange Library, a 96-page story about, well, a “strange trip to the library,” due from Knopf on December 2nd.

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Flannery O’Connor Explains the Limited Value of MFA Programs: “Competence By Itself Is Deadly”

≡ Category: Education, Writing |Leave a Comment

Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “because fine writing rarely pays, fine writers usually end up teaching, and the [MFA] degree, however worthless to the spirit, can be expected to add something to the flesh.

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Jane Austen Used Pins to Edit Her Abandoned Manuscript, The Watsons

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Before the word processor, before Whiteout, before Post It Notes, there were straight pins. Or, at least that’s what Jane Austen used to make edits in one of her rare manuscripts. In 2011, the Bodleian Library acquired the manuscript of Austen’s abandoned novel, The Watsons.

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Haruki Murakami’s Passion for Jazz: Discover the Novelist’s Jazz Playlist, Jazz Essay & Jazz Bar

≡ Category: Literature, Music, Writing |Leave a Comment

Any serious reader of Haruki Murakami — and even most of the casual ones — will have picked up on the fact that, apart from the work that has made him quite possibly the world’s most beloved living novelist, the man has two passions: running and jazz.

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“Tsundoku,” the Japanese Word for the New Books That Pile Up on Our Shelves, Should Enter the English Language

≡ Category: History, Language Lessons, Writing |5 Comments

There are some words out there that are brilliantly evocative and at the same time impossible to fully translate. Yiddish has the word shlimazl, which basically means a perpetually unlucky person. German has the word Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly means a face that is badly in need of a fist.

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Theodor Adorno’s Philosophy of Punctuation

≡ Category: Philosophy, Writing |2 Comments

German critical theorist Theodor Adorno is known for many things, but a light touch isn’t one of them. His work includes despairing post-fascist ethics and a study on the sociology and psychology of fascism. Those who dig deeper into his catalog may know his rigorously philosophical Negative Dialectics or dense, opaque Aesthetic Theory.

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5 Wonderfully Long Literary Sentences by Samuel Beckett, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald & Other Masters of the Run-On

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |6 Comments

Despite its occasional use in spoken monologue, the Very Long Literary Sentence properly exists in the mind (hence “stream-of-consciousness”), since the most wordy of literary exhalations would exhaust the lungs’ capacity.

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The CIA’s Style Manual & Writer’s Guide: 185 Pages of Tips for Writing Like a Spy

≡ Category: English Language, Politics, Writing |2 Comments

Along with toppling democratically elected governments, funneling money illegally to dubious political groups and producing pornographic movies about heads of state, the Central Intelligence Agency has also been fiendishly good at manipulating language.

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Flannery O’Connor’s Satirical Cartoons: 1942-1945

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, Creativity, Literature, Writing |1 Comment

Sci-fi author B.C. Kowalski recently posted a short essay on why the advice to write every day is, for lack of a suitable euphemism, “bullshit.” Not that there’s anything wrong with it, Kowalski maintains. Only that it’s not the only way. It’s said Thackeray wrote every morning at dawn. Jack Kerouac wrote (and drank) in binges.

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How J.K. Rowling Plotted Harry Potter with a Hand-Drawn Spreadsheet

≡ Category: Books, Writing |2 Comments

At the height of the Harry Potter novels’ popularity, I asked a number of people why those books in particular enjoyed such a devoted readership. Everyone gave almost the same answer: that author J.K. Rowling “tells a good story.

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