What matters: how much a character wants something. Eleanor and Park is transcendent because of how much Eleanor wants freedom from her terrible, punishing home. The size of Eleanor’s want makes her matter to me. I want her to be free, too. The other thing that makes her matter is the specificity of her character: her red hair. Her playlists. Her courage. Her cool ideas.

Which books have made me want to write, or read, or just glad to be in the world?
Fault in Our Stars.
Looking for Alaska.
It’s Kind of A Funny Story.
Okay for Now.
Eleanor and Park.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Treasure Island.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.
The Art of Fielding.

Reading Eleanor and Park. Thinking about the passage of time, a writer problem that often stalls me for good. Rainbow Rowell takes care of it breezily: Park figures he’ll give it to her the next day but the next day she isn’t in school, nor is she there the day after that. Boom, just like that three days have passed.