On Becoming a Novelist (1983) by John Gardner and the Art of Fiction

“On some subjects—for instance, writers’ workshops—one is tempted to pull punches or rest satisfied with oversimplified answers; but I’m assuming, as the primary reader of this book, an intensely serious beginning novelist who wants the strict truth (as I perceive it) for his life’s sake, so that he can plan his days of technique, theory, and attitude; and become as quickly and efficiently as possible a master of his craft” (p xxii).

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The Underground Railroad (2016) by Colson Whitehead and the Escape to Freedom

“The iron horse still rumbled through the tunnel when she woke. Lumbly’s words returned to her: If you want to see what this nation is all about, you have to ride the rails. Look outside as you speed through, and you’ll find the true face of America. It was a joke, then, from the start. There was only darkness outside the windows on her journeys, and only ever would be darkness” (pgs. 262-263).

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The Truth behind the last 100 Years of the Pulitzer Prize in Novel & Fiction

We are, however, all too familiar with the penchant judges and editors have for writers located in the coastal regions of the United States. From the list, the affiliated universities relating to the winners’ education and/or employment were found to be primarily located in the eastern coastal region of the United States: namely the New England Region and the Eastern Coastal Region which had an incredible 92 associated wins, the bulk of those coming from institutions in the state of New York (thought provoking); California, on the west coast, had an accredited 7 wins. Predictably and regrettably, since New York State and its institutions had the most associated wins by far for any state or region, the Pulitzer Prize in Novel/Fiction becomes, without question, the least diverse of all the book awards inside the United States of America.

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Papa’s Gift (2014) by George A. McLendon & a Dialogue of the Universe, Resurrected

“The first basic truth is that Soul, the real you,” explains McLendon, “is eternally happy. Soul is joyous in the knowledge that its Creator loves it. Your prime duty here on earth is to reflect that love in your present life. Soul lacks nothing. Soul is complete. When your vibrations are in harmony with Spirit, love and well-being are magnetically drawn to act through you. You become a conduit for expansion… You must intentionally become what you desire” (pgs 32-33).

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Nutshell (2016) by Ian McEwan & Dreams had in a Mother’s Womb

“But lately, don’t ask why, I’ve no taste for comedy, no inclination to exercise, even if I had the space, no delight in fire or earth, in words that once revealed a golden world of majestical stars, the beauty of poetic apprehension, the infinite joy of reason. These admirable radio talks and bulletins, the excellent podcasts that moved me, seem at best hot air, at worst a vaporous stench. The brave polity I’m soon to join, the noble congregation of humanity, its customs, gods and angels, its fiery ideas and brilliant ferment, no longer thrill me. A weight bears down heavily on the canopy that wraps my little frame. There’s hardly enough of me to form one small animal, still less to express a man. My dispositions is to stillborn sterility, then to dust” (p 91).

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The Spy (2016) by Paulo Coelho & the Artist’s Mission in Life

“When I got to the sixth veil, I went over to the Shiva statue, simulated an orgasm, and cast myself to the ground while removing the seventh and final veil.

“For a few moments I did not hear a single sound from the audience—from where I was lying, I could not see anyone, and they seemed petrified or horrified. Then came the first ‘Bravo,’ spoken by a female voice, and soon the whole room rose for a standing ovation. I got up with one arm covering my breasts and the other extended to cover my sex” (pgs 59-60).

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I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around (2016) by Ann Garvin & the Woman who Didn’t Want to Grow Up

“Tig tried a smile, but her lips trembled and she returned her gaze to Clementine. She traced her finger from Clementine’s forehead to the tip of her nose, finishing at her tiny, tented lip. ‘The big question in my mind is not if your mom is coming back. It’s if Pete is, and if I’ll get a chance at having someone like you’” (p 170).

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2013) by Haruki Murakami & The Imaginary Reality

“Maybe I am fated to always be alone, Tsukuru found himself thinking. People came to him, but in the end they always left. They came, seeking something, but either they couldn’t find it, or were unhappy with what they found (or else they were disappointed or angry), and then they left. One day, without warning, they vanished, with no explanation, no word of farewell. Like a silent hatchet had sliced the ties between them, ties through which warm blood still flowed, along with a quiet pulse… ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki,’ he said aloud. I basically have nothing to offer to others. If you think about it, I don’t even have anything to offer myself” (pgs 100-101).

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