I'm on vacation in Spain. Near Cartagena, to be precise. The weather is fine, and the sea pleasantly refreshing. A couple of hours ago I finished lunch. I had gazpacho, fried cheese, bread, salad, and lomo. I concluded my meal with a couple of ripe and tasty plums. And washed everything with genereous amounts of sangria. Then I wrote a short story. It is more or less 900 words long. And I think I'm going to post it sometime during the next week. You know, I need to let it rest a bit, to clean it adequately. Instead, today I'm going to give you a list of books about the craft of writing I … [Read more...] about The craft of writing – my top picks
Last week I wrote a post about the secret recipe for a bestseller. A recipe which, for a series of reasons, I don't believe it can be found. Instead, in this post I'm going to list the features a book must possess to intrigue me. It's not a secret recipe, far from it. It's just me babbling about my likes and dislikes. A sort of case study on my reading habits. Unwilling heroes with a North Star Unwilling or reluctant heroes. You can call them like you wish. But for me this is how heroes should be to have a chance to win me over. Because they smell much more of real humanity than any other … [Read more...] about The most intriguing characteristics of a novel
Writing can be a deeply rewarding activity. It can also be terribly stressful. Just have a look at these quotes: We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect--Anaïs Nin One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple--Jack Kerouac I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within--Gustave Flaubert A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God--Sidney Sheldon As a matter of fact, unless you're just a hack who only cares about … [Read more...] about Healthy minds: how writers can stay healthy and keep writing
Too many books to read and too little time to read them. This is one of my my constant problems. And even though I know perfectly well this is a typical first-world problem, I can't help but to get frustrated about the way my list of to-read books keeps growing faster and faster. So fast indeed that even if I were a sort of octoculis lectorem (this is a word I just made up) and had eight independent pairs of eyes, I would be nonetheless unable to close the gap between my literary wants and my actual reading count. Luckily I find some solace in the notion that I'm not alone. In fact, … [Read more...] about Too many books to read and too little time to read them – a blessing in disguise?
Over the last three weeks, after moving, I've been busy doing small jobs around the house. Now that most of the tasks I had appointed myself with are ticked off, I'm pretty satisfied. Yet I'm also quite stressed out. The number one reason for this situation is simple. During this period I read next to nothing. And now, given I'm addicted to books, like a junkie who desperately needs to score, I'm experiencing the usual withdrawal symptoms. For example, I dream of books. Continuously. At night they appear in my dreams. No more pinups and bombshells for me. No more flying over the … [Read more...] about Addicted to books – my personal list of the best novels to read
It has always fascinated me how we relate to language. We use it every day, constantly and quite skillfully. Yet we know little about how it works. Think of it. We yell at the dog to get him off the sofa. We pause a moment to make sure we have actually scared the damn thing away, then we resume our chatting on the phone with our friend. Later on, when our spouse gets home we say hello to him, or her, and ask about their day. Finally, we promptly adopt motherese to speak to our three year old daughter, who has just come out of her room screaming like a banshee. Or maybe not if we are males. … [Read more...] about Linguistics – how we relate to language