William Landay's Blog

October 24, 2014

Here is a quick Q&A I did with Nina Darnton, whose novel The Perfect Mother launches November 29. If you liked Defending Jacob…

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Published on October 24, 2014 07:52 • 13 views

October 13, 2014

[M]ost of the books I have written and those I intend to write originate from the thought that it will be impossible for me to write a book of that kind: when I have convinced myself that such a book is completely beyond my capacities of temperament or skill, I sit down and start writing it.


Italo Calvino

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Published on October 13, 2014 05:30 • 14 views

One starts off writing with a certain zest, but a time comes when the pen merely grates in dusty ink, and not a drop of life flows, and life is all outside, outside the window, outside oneself, and it seems that never more can one escape into a page one is writing, open out another world, leap the gap.


Italo Calvino

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Published on October 13, 2014 05:29 • 2 views

Instead of making myself write the book I ought to write, the novel that was expected of me, I conjured up the book I myself would have liked to read, the sort by an unknown writer, from another age and another country, discovered in an attic.


Italo Calvino

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Published on October 13, 2014 05:28 • 9 views

October 10, 2014

The ancient masters of Japanese art were allowed to change their name once in their lifetime. They had to be very selective about the moment in their career when they did so. They would stick with their given name until they felt they had become the artist they aspired to be; at that point, they were allowed to change their name. For the rest of their life, they could work under the new name at the height of their powers. The name change was a sign of artistic maturity.


Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

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Published on October 10, 2014 04:00 • 5 views

October 8, 2014

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Published on October 08, 2014 14:00 • 15 views

Clarendon Canal


A new report imagines Boston inundated by rising sea levels — as much as 7.5 feet higher than today. Above, Clarendon Street in the Back Bay converted into a canal. My office is just a few blocks from this intersection.

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Published on October 08, 2014 04:00 • 5 views

October 7, 2014

Sooner or later, the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing.


V.S. Pritchett, “Gibbon and the Home Guard” (via)

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Published on October 07, 2014 09:00 • 3 views

October 6, 2014

Mediterranean Mantis


A Mediterranean mantis. This photo is among the early entries in the 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest.

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Published on October 06, 2014 12:41 • 6 views

October 3, 2014

Every scene is either a fight, seduction, or negotiation.


Mike Nichols

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Published on October 03, 2014 10:22 • 10 views