I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.
July 9, 1937: On this day, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a letter to Thomas Wolfe, advising his fellow author to write shorter novels. Wolfe responded with a letter eight times as long as Fitzgerald’s.
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
During a five-decade literary career, American poet and political activist Muriel Rukeyser (born December 15, 1913) produced work rich with commentary on human rights issues and inequalities of gender, race and class. Her more than a dozen poetry collections reacted to events including the Spanish Civil War and American aggression in Vietnam. One of her last poems, The Gates, was written after she traveled to South Korea to protest the imprisonment of poet Kim Chi-Ha.
Good writers are monotonous, like good composers. They keep trying to perfect the one problem they were born to understand.
Alberto Moravia (born November 28, 1907) was the pseudonym of Alberto Pincherle, a novelist and short story writer who made a profound impact on 20th-century Italian literature. Themes of isolation, alienation, and emotional emptiness pervade his work, which includes Time of Indifference, Two Adolescents, The Woman of Rome, and The Conformist.
I’m uninterested in superheroes. I am only interested in real stories, real people, real connection.
~Jamie Lee Curtis
Happy birthday, Jamie Lee Curtis. We know the actress (born November 22, 1958) for her memorable film roles and as the daughter of screen stars Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. Happily her résumé and pedigree have not clouded her generous spirit: She’s a bestselling children’s book author, with her work focusing on self-esteem, family bonds, and other positive themes.
Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.
~Peter F. Drucker
Peter F. Drucker (born November 19, 1909) was a management consultant, educator, and author, whose prolific outpouring of books for more than half a century served as guideposts for the business world. His best-known works include The Effective Executive, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The Practice of Management, and Concept of the Corporation. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
The nicest veterans…the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who’d really fought.
It’s Veterans Day and Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday. The bestselling author of Slaughterhouse-Five (born November 11, 1922) drew on his experiences during World War II to craft his satirical antiwar novel. He had been captured by the Germans and survived the firebombing of Dresden—an event that appears in the book. Among his other popular works are Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
It is my belief that books are living things…. And as living things, they need to be protected.
Holly Black (born November 10, 1971) is a bestselling author of fantasy fiction for children and teens, including the Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, and the Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi). In 2008, the Spiderwick Chronicles was adapted into a film.
The great thing about being a writer is that you are always re-creating yourself.
~Martin Cruz Smith
Martin Cruz Smith (born November 3, 1942) is a bestselling mystery novelist known for his series featuring Russian investigator Arkady Renko (titles include Gorky Park, Red Square, and Stalin’s Ghost). He never rereads his books after they’re published. “All I see is shortcomings and errors,” he says. Early in his career he used various pseudonyms, transforming himself multiple times, with names like Simon Quinn, Nick Carter, and Jake Logan.
Unlike baked beans, loaves of breads or Fuji apples, books once consumed, do not disappear.
John Sutherland (born October 9, 1938) has built a distinguished career as a British academic scholar specializing in Victorian fiction. He’s taught at schools like University College London and Caltech, written regular columns for The Guardian, and produced popular works on literary history (So You Think You Know Jane Austen?) in addition to titles that celebrate his lifelong passion (How to Read a Novel). His autobiography is called The Boy Who Loved Books—which simply says it all.