Quotenik
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book

“We moved today to 415 Central Park West. Enormous business of packing and unpacking my books, which I have been carrying on my back for so many years. Lord, how I would like to get free of all these things sometime. I date my maturity from the day I realized there were books I could get along without.”

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source: November 18, 1948 entry in Alfred Kazin’s Journals, selected and edited by Richard M. Cook (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2011), 124.

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medium: Journal

“A new novel, begun in hope and enthusiasm, grows shameful and strange to its author soon enough. After each book is done, you look forward to hating it (and you never have to wait long); there is a weird, inverse confidence to be had from feeling destroyed, because being destroyed, having to start again, means you have space in front of you, somewhere to go. Think of that revelation Shakespeare put in the mouth of King John: ‘Now my soul has elbow room!’ Fictionally speaking, the nightmare is losing the desire to move.”

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source: “Other People’s Words, Part One,” in Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (New York: Penguin, 2009).

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medium: Essay

“Anyone who’s grown up listening to albums and then to CDs can’t help but feel sad about the atomization of music consumption. It would be like if we couldn’t publish a book anymore, only chapters.”

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source: Heidi Julavits interview with Jennifer Egan, BOMB magazine, Issue 112, summer 2010.

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medium: Interview

“In the sea of words, the in print is foam, surf bubbles riding the top.”

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source: The Ecstasy of Influence (New York: Doubleday, 2011), xix.

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medium: Essay

via: Dwight Garner

“I love Dickens. I love the way he sets a scene. He said, in his great admonition to writers, ‘Make me see.’ I try to make you see what’s happening and smell it and hear it. I want to know what they had for dinner. I want to know how long it took to walk from where to where.”

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source: Interview with NEH Chairman Bruce Cole, ca. 2002

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medium: Interview

via: Austin Kleon

“It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.”

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source: One Writer’s Beginnings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 5.

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medium: Memoir

“A book which, no matter how many readers it will ever have, will never have enough.”

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source: blurb on front cover of Cyril Connolly’s book The Unquiet Grave (New York: Persea Books, 1981).

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medium: Book review

“I’m not lonely, and I think that has a lot to do with what’s on my bedside table rather than what’s in my bed.”

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source: “Michelle Williams: My Week with Michelle,” by Adam Green, Vogue, September 13, 2011.

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medium: Magazine profile

“My ideal state as a reader when I’m reading other people is feeling I’m vaguely wasting my time when I’m not reading that novel.”

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source: Interview by Alexandra Alter, The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2010.

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medium: Interview

via: The Writer's Almanac

“My first stepfather used to say that what I didn’t know would fill a book. Well, here it is.”

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source: This Boy’s Life (New York: Grove Press, 1989), frontmatter.

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medium: Memoir

“I see now that dismissing YA books because you’re not a young adult is a little bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the grounds that you’re not a policeman or a dangerous criminal, and as a consequence, I’ve discovered a previously ignored room at the back of the bookstore that’s filled with masterpieces I’ve never heard of, like the YA equivalents of The Maltese Falcon and Strangers on a Train. Weirdly, then, reading YA stuff now is a little like being a young adult way back then: Is this Vonnegut guy any good? What about Albert Camus? Anyone ever heard of him? The world suddenly seems a larger place.”

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source: “October 2007,” in Shakespeare Wrote for Money (San Francisco, CA: Believer Books, 2008), 81–82.

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medium: Essay

“I would like my personal reading map to resemble a map of the British Empire circa 1900; I’d like people to look at it and think, How the hell did he end up right over there?

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source: “May 2005,” in Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt (San Francisco, CA: Believer Books, 2006), 51.

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medium: Essay

“‘Authorship’—in the sense we know it today, individual intellectual effort related to the book as an economic commodity—was practically unknown before the advent of print technology. Medieval scholars were indifferent to the precise identity of the ‘books’ they studied. In turn, they rarely signed even what was clearly their own work. They were a humble service organization. Procuring texts was often a very tedious and time-consuming task. Many small texts were transmitted into volumes of miscellaneous content, very much like ‘jottings’ in a scrapbook, and, in this transmission, authorship was often lost.”

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source: The Medium is the Massage (New York: Touchstone, 1967), 122.

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medium: Nonfiction

notes: Marshall McLuhan and graphic designer Quentin Fiore co-created this book and Jerome Agel “produced” it. More info about the publishing arrangement here

“The great thing about writing a book is that it brings you into contact with people whose opinions you should have canvassed before you ever pressed pen to paper. They write to you. They telephone you. They come to your bookstore events and give you things to read that you should have read already. It’s this dialectical process that makes me glad I chose the profession I did: a free education that goes on for a lifetime.”

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source: “Finding Morals Under Empty Heavens,” Science & Spirit, July/August 2007.

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medium: Essay

“The moment I’d finished I bought myself a first edition, and then another, for a friend’s birthday. It’s that sort of book.”

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source: review of How to Breathe Underwater, “November 2003,” in The Polysyllabic Spree (San Francisco, CA: Believer Books, 2004), 33.

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medium: Essay

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