I’m contemplating if book sales and promotions can actually be rigged like so many other things in our everyday lives?
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I’m contemplating if book sales and promotions can actually be rigged like so many other things in our everyday lives?

-Stanley Victor

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I recall Decimus instructing me while at work that wrong friends will make my heart yearn for sin more than it usually does. Compromises will be easier and wisdom will be replaced with folly. I just figured that they didn’t know him, and therefore were judging him. Plus, I told them that Erebus …was interested in becoming a Christian, and that was the basis of our friendship. My biggest mistake was when I told John that Jesus spent time with sinners far worse than Erebus. ‘Oh foolishness, you forget I was with Jesus when he was in the homes and company of sinners,’ John chided. ‘Jesus did not come to make friends, but to call sinners to repent. Do that long enough and let’s see how many friends you pick up…His visits were hardly a social call…He did not save any lost soul by living like that lost soul…until Erebus sees Christ in you, you are guilty of leading him astray as I’m afraid he is leading you astray...As I see it, friendships are grown when you are all going in the same direction, and can help, encourage and protect all involved. Friendships are not to be reckless, but constructive and purposeful where you are building each other up and improving each other’s character. If this isn’t that inner, guiding principle of all the friends you hold, then in what direction is it actually going, and what good will be derived from it? If friends are not making each other better, then they’re fulfilling the role of our spiritual enemy by tearing down what is good and ruining what had potential……

-Rick Lambert

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I remember, in no particular order:—a shiny inner wrist;—steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;—gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;—a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;—another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;—bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door.This last isn’t something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.We live in time—it holds us and moulds us—but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing—until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.I’m not very interested in my schooldays, and don’t feel any nostalgia for them. But school is where it all began, so I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty. If I can’t be sure of the actual events any more, I can at least be true to the impressions those facts left. That’s the best I can manage.

-Julian Barnes

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I hope I’m being clear, I didn’t say I hate feminists, that would be weird. I said I hate feminist. I’m talking about the word.I have the privilege living my life inside of words and part of being a writer is creating entire universes, and that's beautiful, but part of being a writer is also living in the very smallest part of every word....But the word feminist, it doesn't sit with me, it doesn't add up. I want to talk about my problem that I have with it. ...Ist in it's meaning is also a problem for me. Because you can't be born an ist. It's not natural... So feminist includes the idea that believing men and women to be equal, believing all people to be people, is not a natural state. That we don't emerge assuming that everybody in the human race is a human, that the idea of equality is just an idea that's imposed on us. That we are indoctrinated with it, that it's an agenda......My problem with feminist is not the word. It's the question. "Are you now, or have you ever been, a feminist?" The great Katy Perry once said—I'm paraphrasing—"I'm not a feminist but I like it when women are strong."...Don't know why she feels the need to say the first part, but listening to the word and thinking about it, I realize I do understand. This question that lies before us is one that should lie behind us. The word is problematic for me because there's another word that we're missing......When you say racist, you are saying that is a negative thing. That is a line that we have crossed. Anything on the side of that line is shameful, is on the wrong side of history. And that is a line that we have crossed in terms of gender but we don't have the word for it......I start thinking about the fact that we have this word when we're thinking about race that says we have evolved beyond something and we don't really have this word for gender. Now you could argue sexism, but I'd say that's a little specific. People feel removed from sexism. ‘I'm not a sexist, but I'm not a feminist.' They think there's this fuzzy middle ground. There's no fuzzy middle ground. You either believe that women are people or you don't. It's that simple....You don’t have to hate someone to destroy them. You just have to not get it....My pitch is this word. ‘Genderist.’ I would like this word to become the new racist. I would like a word that says there was a shameful past before we realized that all people were created equal. And we are past that. And every evolved human being who is intelligent and educated and compassionate and to say I don't believe that is unacceptable. And Katy Perry won't say, "I'm not a feminist but I like strong women," she'll say, "I'm not a genderist but sometimes I like to dress up pretty." And that'll be fine....This is how we understand society. The word racism didn't end racism, it contextualized it in a way that we still haven't done with this issue. ...I say with gratitude but enormous sadness, we will never not be fighting. And I say to everybody on the other side of that line who believe that women are to be bought and trafficked or ignored...we will never not be fighting. We will go on, we will always work this issue until it doesn't need to be worked anymore....Is this idea of genderist going to do something? I don't know. I don't think that I can change the world. I just want to punch it up a little.

-Joss Whedon

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Responding to a moderator at the Sydney Writers Festival in 2008 (video), about the Spanish words in his book:When all of us are communicating and talking when we’re out in the world, we’ll be lucky if we can understand 20 percent of what people say to us. A whole range of clues, of words, of languages escape us. I mean we’re not perfect, we’re not gods. But on top of that people mis-speak, sometimes you mis-hear, sometimes you don’t have attention, sometimes people use words you don’t know. Sometimes people use languages you don’t know. On a daily basis, human beings are very comfortable with a large component of communication, which is incomprehensibility, incomprehension. We tend to be comfortable with it. But for an immigrant, it becomes very different. What most of us consider normative comprehension an immigrant fears that they’re not getting it because of their lack of mastery in the language.And what’s a normal component in communication, incomprehension, in some ways for an immigrant becomes a source of deep anxiety because you’re not sure if it’s just incomprehension or your own failures. My sense of writing a book where there is an enormous amount of language that perhaps everyone doesn’t have access to was less to communicate the experience of the immigrant than to communicate the experience that for an immigrant causes much discomfort but that is normative for people. which is that we tend to not understand, not grasp a large part of the language around us. What’s funny is, will Ramona accept incomprehension in our everyday lives and will greet that in a book with enormous fury. In other words what we’re comfortable with out in the outside world, we do not want to encounter in our books.So I’m constantly, people have come to me and asked me… is this, are you trying to lock out your non-Dominican reader, you know? And I’m like, no? I assume any gaps in a story and words people don’t understand, whether it’s the nerdish stuff, whether it’s the Elvish, whether it’s the character going on about Dungeons and Dragons, whether it’s the Dominican Spanish, whether it’s the sort of high level graduate language, I assume if people don’t get it that this is not an attempt for the writer to be aggressive. This is an attempt for the writer to encourage the reader to build community, to go out and ask somebody else. For me, words that you can’t understand in a book aren’t there to torture or remind people that they don’t know. I always felt they were to remind people that part of the experience of reading has always been collective. You learn to read with someone else. Yeah you may currently practice it in a solitary fashion, but reading is a collective enterprise. And what the unintelligible in a book does is to remind you how our whole, lives we’ve always needed someone else to help us with reading.

-Junot Díaz

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