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.

On the Subject of Certain Book Titles Which Proclaim the “End” of an Abstract Concept

The End of History. After the End of Art. There exists a compulsion among modern intellectuals to pronounce the death of otherwise seemingly interminable concepts. Or there appears to exist such a compulsion, perhaps is the correct way to phrase it. In fact, reason dictates that such titles represent a calculated means by which to prevent the end of something else — namely, of book sales.