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.

Right now reading Okay For Now. A really beautiful book. The narrative voice is perfect: a tough, decent kid who somehow never learned to read, and loves to draw. I like how he talks to the reader: “which you would know why if you were paying attention.” Or, “you got that?” Or, “I bet you didn’t catch that, did you?” Or, “She called me an artist, which you probably wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t point it out.” I fall in love with the character because of the way he talks: So what? Big deal. Terrific.

What does that teach me? Get out of the character’s way? Don’t explain everything? Don’t worry so much about making sense? Your character has an affair. He doesn’t think, I’m sick of my wife, but I’m too cowardly to leave so maybe I can give myself a tiny vacation by flirting with this woman. No. He thinks about the dress she had on, the way it caught on the back of her calf, and the run in her stocking that she didn’t even notice. His wife would never leave the house like that, with a wrinkled dress and a torn stocking. She would feel contempt for the woman who did.