"A good critic is trying to tell you what she has learned about herself from the reading of a particular piece of literature. A bad reviewer is often trying to tell you how smart he is by declaring whether or not he liked a particular book."
Kevin Guilfoile in the commentary on our first day of judgment at The Morning News Tournament of Books - Presented by Field Notes
Join us for a ToB celebration here on March 24!
"Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine, but once in a while, as I eat a burrito and watch an old samurai film, I wonder how that other, more glamorous writer, David-san, the Second-Rate Novelist, is doing over there, where it’s already tomorrow."
David Gordon is Big in Japan - NYTimes.com
And David Gordon will be here on February 10! Mark your calendar, details coming soon.
"As a man things are as they should or shouldn’t be. As a man you know who is right and who is wrong. You have to make decisions and enforce them. As a writer you should not judge. You should understand."
"I have gotten into baseball recently, and whenever I have trouble writing, I think about the pace of baseball. It’s slow. You strike out a lot, even if you’re great. It’s mostly individual, but when you have to work together, it must be perfect. My desktop picture is of the Red Sox during the World Series. They aren’t winning; they’re just grinding out another play. This, for me, is very helpful to have in my mind while writing."
"But one ultra-shitty thing about writing, fiction and nonfiction, is that sometimes you may just not be the person you need to be to write the book you want to write yet. I desperately wanted to be the person who could write my novel immediately after I finished ATHSW. But the right stuff hadn’t happened to me yet. You have to trust that you’re having the experiences you need to have in order to become the person who finishes the book."
"I’ve always had the idea that there’s a distinction between what we think of as the author and the person who is actually the writer. That distinction is something along the lines of the author is the person who knows everything, who meant everything that the reader senses or imagines or feels, and is aware of every last meaning in the book. And the writer is this sort of bumbling person who writes, but doesn’t always mean everything, doesn’t always know everything. And then the audience expects the author, but it’s the writer, of course, who shows up instead. I’ve loved enough authors and known enough writers to understand that that distinction is real."
"I’ve had a lot of experience analyzing various bad boyfriends, both mine and my friends’, trying to figure out why men who are smart, and who aren’t evil or unfeeling, did some of the things they did."
—Adelle Waldman (The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.), who will be here for "Sex, Love and the Novel" on Thursday, August 1.