“The process of imbuing every sentence with “minimum elegance and euphony,” [Amis] says in the clip above (drawn from a longer interview viewable here) involves “saying the sentence, subvocalizing it in your head until there’s nothing wrong with it. This means not repeating in the same sentence suffixes and prefix. If you’ve got a confound, you can’t have a conform. If you’ve got invitation, you can’t have execution. You can’t repeat those, or an –ing, or a –ness: all that has to be one per sentence. I think the prose will give a sort of pleasure without you being able to tell why.”—Colin Marshall, “Martin Amis Explains His Method for Writing Great Sentences.” OpenCulture.com. June 24, 2020
“‘No one needs more shit to read,’ wrote Erica Buist in a widely circulated Medium post entitled ‘The Personal Newsletter Fad Needs to End,’ citing Twitter, print magazines, and her nightstand book stack as competing entities.
It’s true that my Pocket app, Chrome tabs, bookshelves, and feeds are all crammed with reading material. Yet somehow I never begrudge a new newsletter landing in my inbox.”
—Claire Landsbaum, “We’re at Peak Newsletter, and I Feel Fine.” Vanity Fair. July 11, 2019
“A question from the New York Times’ Bookends, “Where is the great American novel by a woman?,” got an interesting answer from the Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid…
[Ursula’s answer, in short:]
But there’s something coy and coercive about the question itself that made me want to charge into the bullring, head down and horns forward. I’d answer it with a question: Where is the great American novel by anybody? And I’d answer that: Who cares?…
…Art is not a horse race. Literature is not the Olympics. The hell with The Great American Novel. We have all the great novels we need right now—and right now some man or woman is writing a new one we won’t know we needed till we read it.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, “Who Cares About The Great American Novel?” Literary Hub. December 6, 2017.