Life Deluxe

The strip club on Roslagsgatan’d been rented out.

-Jens Lapidus, Life Deluxe: A Novel


Painted Horses

London, even the smell of it.

-Malcolm Brooks, Painted Horses: A Novel


Founders as Fathers & Much More

founders“The often overlooked private lives of elite men who preferred the joys of plantation life (‘our own Vine and our own fig tree’) but deemed their revolutionary cause ‘a parental obligation.’” Here‘s a review of Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries.

Says novelist Carl Hiaasen (Skink–No Surrender): “Florida is a 24-hour freak show. If you’re a writer, inspiration rains down from the headlines every day. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’d probably go into withdrawal if I moved somewhere normal.” Here.

The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. Here.

Says Paul Theroux (Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories):”What if a person was in a minstrel show, put on blackface and a wig, and then came home? What sort of a person would he be? Would he be the father of the family making jokes or would he be in character?” Here.

Writers at their typewriters! Here.

“[Daphne] Merkin is our scribe of wounded celebrity.” Here.

“When she died last November at the age of 94, I’d known Doris [Lessing] for fifty years. In all that time, I’ve never managed to figure out a designation for her that properly and succinctly describes her role in my life, let alone my role in hers. We have the handy set of words to describe our nearest relations: mother, father, daughter, son, uncle, aunt, cousin, although that’s as far as it goes usually in contemporary Western society.” Here.




In the early days of summer, Agostino and his mother used to go out to sea every morning on a small rowboat typical of Mediterranean beaches known as a pattino.

-Alberto Moravia, Agostino


The Palace of Illusions

The loft where the dwarfs lived had a view of the city and hardwood floors and skylights, but it was overpriced, and too small now that there were seven of them.

-Kim Addonizio, “Ever After,” in The Palace of Illusions: Stories


Mr. Tall

She lived alone now, in a big house in Brentwood bought with the royalties of a bad country music song her husband had sung.

-Tony Earley, “Yard Art,” in Mr. Tall: A Novella and Stories


Sundays at Eight

Writers have built-in support systems that do keep us humble.  I have an editor at The New Yorker who is not dazzled by any of my book sales, and is, if anything, more willing today to tell me than he was ten years ago, that what I’ve written is nonsense.  I have a mother who is resolutely unswayed by the opinion of the outside world.  She said of Outliers, in a way that only a mother can, “I really like this book,” meaning that she did not like the first two books so much. When you have people in your life who keep you in check, it’s easier. And luckily, I do not have any real power. I am not running a major country or investment bank, so that damage I can do if I were to get overconfident is limited, thankfully.

-Malcolm Gladwell, “Writing Bestsellers,” in Sundays at Eight: 25 Years of Stories from C-SPAN’S Q&A and Booknotes edited by Brian Lamb


What Would Lynne Tillman Do?

Chet Baker could break your heart with his romantic trumpet sound and melancholy way of phrasing a ballad.

-Lynne Tillman, “White Cool,” in What Would Lynne Tillman Do?, with an introduction by Colm Toibin


The Word Exchange

On a very cold and lonely Friday last November, my father disappeared from the Dictionary.

-Alena Graedon, The Word Exchange: A Novel


The Time Regulation Institute

I have never cared much for reading or writing; anyone who knows me can tell you that.

-Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, The Time Regulation Institute