Worth reading, whether or not you like its message.
The author is bitter in places, and it seems like bitterness is one of the common outcomes of employment in the academe. And is also one of the most uncool of emotions. And the academe seems like a relentless Gehenna.
But I like at least one thing the author said: “… writing that’s motivated by the desire to give the reader a pleasurable experience really is best.”
Reading is pretty important, especially in a postliterate age when reading is regarded as a little strange, a little suspicious. I read “the classics” not because they are part of any Canon, or because somebody told me to go read them, but because they contain good stories and passages of beauty.
Edith Wharton; George Eliot; Joyce Carol Oates; Marilynne Robinson; Jorge Luis Borges. Toni Morrison. Eudora Welty. Flannery O’Connor. Lucille Clifton; Gwendolyn Brooks; Cornelius Eady. Melville. Some of these are classics, and some should be. I think these writers have talent, and I mean “talent” in the most magic and occulted way. I think they have done, or did, a lot of reading.
I do not know where people get talent, but I think, wherever it comes from, talent is nurtured by reading and by difficult work.
It is pleasurable to read stories and poems that are entertaining and also rigorous. I like a crafted story that gives me subtle clues I need to think about. I can tell if a writer has been a lifelong reader. And when she has done careful research and is intent on the imperative goal of showing her reader a great time.
— Eric Bourland