Snippets #23

Francine Prose-Reading Like a Writer

I’ve heard the way a writer reads described as “reading carnivorously.” What I’ve always assumed that this means is not, as the expression might seem to imply, reading for what can be ingested, stolen or borrowed, but rather for what can be admired, absorbed, and learned. It involves reading for sheer pleasure but also with an eye and a memory for which author happens to do which thing particularly well. Let’s say you are facing the challenges of populating a room with a large cast of characters all talking at once. Having read the ballroom scene in Anna Karenina, or the wild party that winds through so many pages of William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, you have sources to which you can go not just for inspiration but for technical assistance. (31)

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