I read a lot. If you follow me, I’m sure that’s obvious. If you’re new, well, it’ll become apparent quickly enough.
And one of the things I want to do more of is use this wide-reading to help other writers think more (deeply?) about the work they are doing and the work other people are doing. But I’ve long since realized that there’s quite a lot of crap advice and crap in general out there. It’s a little disappointing, but it’s reality. So consider this series an attempt to collect interesting pieces that I think are worthy of attention.
Concept Check: The Book Doula–the world of self-publishing continues to self-monetize. Such weirdness. I struggle to think of a proper place for the book doula.
What Are We Doing Here? (New York Review of Books)–such a great piece about writing in the age of humanism…and a lot more. Writer is definitely not afraid of diving deep. It is long, and occasionally digressive, but very fascinating.
“I have been reading lately about the rise of humanism in Europe. The old scholars often described themselves as “ravished” by one of the books newly made available to them by the press, perhaps also by translation. Their lives were usually short, never comfortable. I think about what it would have been like to read by the light of an oil lamp, to write with a goose quill. It used to seem to me that an unimaginable self-discipline must account for their meticulous learnedness. I assumed that the rigors and austerities of their early training had made their discomforts too familiar to be noticed. Now increasingly I think they were held to their work by a degree of fascination, of sober delight, that we can no longer imagine.”
In Beijing, 20 Million People Pretend to Live–I loved this. If you read anything in this list, read this. Writing under communist China, writing about city life, modern life, authoritarianism, and life outside of the American bubble.
“On July 23, the writer Zhang Wumao published an essay to his public WeChat account. As of the following morning, it had accumulated more than 5 million views and nearly 20,000 comments. Of course, the article was removed that very afternoon.”
Let me know what you think of these. And please link anything you’ve found particularly interesting to read recently.