On Pleasure and the Novel

My wife relates to me the plot of a novel she’s reading in which the protagonist is incapable of experiencing pleasure — from which fact I gather that’s it’s an autobiographical work. The inability to experience pleasure is a necessary condition for the composition of a novel.

A Working Definition of Adulthood

One doesn’t enter adulthood merely by reaching the legally defined age of majority — nor, alternatively, by participating in a rite of passage such as the bar mitzvah. Rather, adulthood is that state one attains upon recognizing that his talent — and, in particular, the temptation to profit from it — is his greatest burden.

On Beginning to Read, But Not Completing, a Novel

It requires a certain interior strength to begin reading a novel and then, finding that it’s poor, to excuse oneself from completing it. With practice, however, it can be done.

For example: after considerable training, I’ve developed the ability to not even start reading in the first place. Each day, I specifically not read hundreds of books. Perhaps even thousands. Indeed, thousands is probably closer to the truth.