In love with the process of writing


fountainpen-post_1024x1024

A needull original.

It is one of those days when you are in a strangely good mood in the morning. And you feel the itch to write.

I have recently started listening to “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles on Audible during my office commutes. Amor worked in the investment profession for 20 years before taking to full time writing. This is his second novel. As you keep getting older, you start re-calibrating your dreams. You try to find examples of people who have done it who were in a similar or worse situation than you. It gives you hope. And Amor gives me hope that someday I will be able to write.

I love the entire experience of writing. I like everything about it. The solitude, the rigid chair and desk, the smell of fresh ink on paper and the ink flowing from your fountain pen.

It is pure magic. You are able to communicate your most abstruse thoughts to others by etching out symbols on paper. And your thoughts might survive and be read and understood by someone thousands of years later.

Such a feeling of wonder!

The Swimming Pool Library


img_8906_900x

Interesting and absurd,

“The Swimmer”: a jovial middle-aged Westchester resident named Ned “Neddy” Merrill, gin-drunk in his friend’s backyard, announces his intention to swim home by way of the fifteen private (and one public) pools that punctuate the properties between himself and his Bullet Park mansion. This setting is powerfully Cheeveresque, to the extent that Mad Men—which shook down many of Cheever’s stories for tone and content—located the Drapers’ Ossining residence on Bullet Park Road, a fictional street named for Cheever’s 1969 novel, Bullet Park. In “The Swimmer,” Ned’s impetus seems mostly romantic; a way of leaving the party in style, reassembling the built waterscape into something natural. “He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county.” There’s no good reason for Ned to do this, other than the fact that he wants to, and believes he can.

The complete article

Naomi Skwarna — Hazlitt

Image source

Can You Be Happy Without Money?


American Psycho successfully creates our materialist society by using brand names and personal fitness and beauty regimens as brick and mortar to build the plot. Sample this description of Bateman’s morning routine: ‘After I change into Ralph Lauren monogrammed boxer shorts and a Fair Isle sweater and slide into silk polka-dot Enrico Hidolin slippers, I tie a plastic ice pack around my face and commence with the morning’s stretching exercises…Then I squeeze Rembrandt onto a faux-tortoiseshell toothbrush…The shower has a universal all-directional shower head that adjusts within a thirty-inch vertical range. It’s made from Australian gold-black brass and covered with a white enamel finish.’

The complete article

Nandini Nair — OPEN

Why Simone de Beauvoir didn’t believe in being ‘a strong woman’


the-second-sex-by-simone-de-beauvoir

Whereas boys were brought up to believe that they could value their own independence and creativity and have flourishing personal relationships, on Beauvoir’s analysis, a woman’s education too often led her to feel ‘torn’ between choosing freedom and choosing love. ‘Woman’, she wrote, is ‘doomed’ to feelings of failure and guilt, because if she succeeded at conforming to mythical ideals of femininity she would be a mirage, not a person. She was expected to embody ‘an inhuman entity: the strong woman, the admirable mother, the virtuous woman, and so on’. Because femininity is so closely associated with prioritising the needs of others, with being likeable and giving, when a woman ‘thinks, dreams, sleeps, desires, and aspires’ for herself, she becomes less feminine – which, in the social currency of 1949 at least, meant she became a worse woman.

The complete article

Kate Kirkpatrick — Aeon

Image source

The lessons of Stephen Schwarzman, boss of Blackstone


what-it-takes-9781501158148_lg

In this age, we look up to billionaires. Well, another of those writing about how he became what he became.

Mr Schwarzman has little time in the book for the little guy. Other financiers wring their hands over the wealth gap between bosses and workers. Not him. He was a rare executive in America’s Business Roundtable not to sign a charter last month calling for an end to the shareholder-led model of capitalism. His private life appears to be one of lavish parties and glamorous schmoozing. Acknowledgments in the book stretch to 14 pages and he name-drops five American presidents, four French ones and China’s Xi Jinping.

The complete article

The Economist

Image source

On Good & Evil


swami_vivekananda_jaipur1

Swami Vivekananda’s views,

Good and evil are inextricably combined, and one cannot be had without the other. The sum total of energy in this universe is like a lake, every wave inevitably leads to a corresponding depression. The sum total is absolutely the same; so to make one man happy is to make another unhappy. External happiness is material and the supply is fixed; so that not one grain can be had by one person without taking from another. Only bliss beyond the material world can be had without loss to any. Material happiness is but a transformation of material sorrow.

The complete article

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Image source

A New York literary agent, editor and author reveal how bestsellers are born


top-10-most-read-books-in-the-world1

Budding authors are usually extremely curious about the slush pile, because it’s where their work is most likely to end up. So let’s stop and think about unsolicited submission and their place in an agent’s life for a bit. For Barbara, his reading system is “a pyramid of sorts”. “The things I have to read first are new manuscripts from my existing clients,” he says. “Then come works that arrive highly recommended from clients. We call those referrals, and they’re a great way to find new business. For “slush” – unsolicited manuscripts – we have interns and assistants who comb through those submissions and they might identify certain projects as having promise.”

The complete article

Clemence Michallon — The Independent

Image source