W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer's Notebook, 1940:
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"Fundamentally man is not a rational animal. It is this that makes fiction so difficult to write; for the reader, or the spectator of a play, demands, at all events today, that he should behave as if he were. We feel dissatisfied when the persons of a story do not act from motives that we accept as sufficient. We expect their behavior to be rational, and if it isn't we say: "But people don't act like that." Our demand for probability grows more and more stringent. We balk at coincidence and accident. We expect the characters that are presented to us invariably to behave like themselves.

The behaviour of the persons in Othello, of Othello himself principally, but to a less extent of almost everyone in the play, is wildly irrational. The critics have turned themselves inside out to show that it isn't. In vain. They would have done better to accept it as a grand example of the fundamental irrationality of man. I am quite ready to believe that contemporary theatre-goers saw nothing improbable in the behaviour of any of the characters."

Just testing out Livejournal
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by cross-posting a couple things from my typepad blog, and playing around with the formatting here and all.

Books Read 2009
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The Laurel Balzac Reader - Balzac

The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

Just After Sunset - Stephen King

Dreams of My Father - Barack Obama

Save the Cat - Blake Snyder

Realms: The First Year of Clarkesworld Magazine

Here Comes Everybody - Clay Shirkey

Is Shakespeare Dead? - Mark Twain

Who is Mark Twain? - Mark Twain

Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre - Peter Coogan

The Lost Princess of Oz - Baum

The Tin Woodman of Oz - Baum

Was Superman a Spy? - Brian Cronin

Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography - Diana Price

Two Noble Kinsmen - Shakespeare & John Fletcher

Resolution - Robert B. Parker

Walden - Thoreau

The End of Overeating - David Kessler

The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World - Lewis Hyde

Stein on Writing - Sol Stein

Where Water Comes Together With Other Water - Raymond Carver

Saturday - Ian McEwan

Even the Wicked - Lawrence Block

How to Grow A Novel - Sol Stein

Killing Castro - Lawrence Block

A Diet of Treacle - Lawrence Block

Pump Six and Other Stories - Paolo Bacigalupi

A Distance Mirror - Barbara W. Tuchman

Shakespeare: The World As Stage - Bill Bryson

Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life - Steven C. Hayes

Rumpole and the Reign of Terror - John Mortimer

Rumpole Misbehaves - John Mortimer

The Happiness Trap - Russ Harris

Everybody Dies - Lawrence Block

Gulf Music - Robert Pinsky

Poems from the Poet's Corner - John Lithgow (ed.)

Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke

The Princess Bride - William Goldman

Stop This Man! - Peter Rabe

The Best American Essays 2008 - Adam Gopnik (ed.)

Books - Larry McMurtry

Complete Plays - Christopher Marlowe

Shakespeare & Co. - Stanley Wells

Hope to Die - Lawrence Block

The Magic of Oz - Baum

All the Flowers Are Dying - Lawrence Block

Sixty Stories - Donald Barthelme

The 50th Law - 50 Cent & Robert Green

The Deep-Blue Goodbye - John D. MacDonald

Bright-Sided - Barbara Ehrenreich

Maske:Thaery - Jack Vance

Eating Animals - Foer

Problem Solving - Ken Watanabe

Gun Fight - Richard Matheson

The Adderall Diaries - Stephen Elliot

Thebes of the Hundred Gates - Robert Silverberg

The Wordy Shipmates - Sarah Vowell

The Autobiography 1872-1914 - Bertrand Russell

Forty Stories - Donald Barthelme

Best American Crime Reporting 2007

How I Write - Janet Evanovich

Under the Dome - Stephen King

Visions of Death - J.D. Robb

Cymbeline - Shakespeare

(31 nonfiction. 34 fiction, poetry & drama. 65 total, 7 more than last year.)


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