the job of writing

For me, the ultimate test of a magazine is that I often read articles about subjects that I'm not actually interested in, either because I learn things or just because they're well written. I've talked before about how I always read Joan Acocella's dance articles in the New Yorker even though I don't care about dance.

Well, that's also true of the New York Review of Books. However, I've never paid that much attention to the NYRB website, which I've always found to be rather disorganized and unpredictable. But the most recent issue of the magazine had a little ad for the blogs on the website, and the title of one of the stories caught my eye: "E-books Can't Burn."

That was intriguing enough, so I went to the website and read that and also another post by the same writer which was just as interesting. (Typically, even though "E-books Can't Burn" was featured in the print edition of the magazine, I had to use Google to find it on the website.)

"E-books Can't Burn"

This made me think of my post "(Mostly) Not Sentimental About Books." As it says, books are just a long series of words. But he took the thought a lot further than I did, into different areas.

"The Writer's Job"

This really clarified some of my unease about a lot of the way fiction writing has become a career path these days. The paragraph about self-promotion really caught my eye, too. It doesn't sound like a job I'd like, I can tell you that. And "Literary fiction has become a genre like any other" definitely fits in with what I've observed. I could go on, but the whole thing is worth reading.

Both pieces are by the same writer, Tim Parks. I'm definitely going to follow his posts from now on.

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