Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Random Roundup

Some things that caught my eye:

Thoughts on the difficulty of making friends as an adult:
In college, you get drunk and make out. In adult life, you get drunk and tell someone you secretly have wanted to be their friend for months.
A theory of why (some) people read novels:
Basically, people read novels either for style; for characterization; for subject matter; or for plot.

"Serious" contemporary novels tend to be confessional, and are all style and characterization. The plots are defective or predictable and the subject matter is always the same (i.e. 'me').

"Serious" modernist novels (like those by Joyce and Pynchon) are all style and subject matter. Nobody reads them for plot, and the characters aren't very interesting.

"Serious" 19th century novels (Austen to James, let's say) are mainly about characterization, and secondarily feature style and plot. The subject matter is always the same, i.e. getting some woman married.

"Popular" novels from every era are often careless about style but ramp up the focus on plot and subject matter, often creating or describing marvellous new worlds in which the heroes have interesting adventures.
and how to make butterbeer.
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