Felicity's Reviews > Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Burning Down the House by Charles Baxter
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's review
Mar 31, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: grad-school, nonfiction, essays, writing-craft, signed
Recommended for: fiction writers
Read in March, 2008

Not a writing craft book in the literal sense, this is a collection of craft talks. Mostly they center on problems in or with contemporary fiction, which is not as dour or negative as it sounds; rather, it presents the challenge and promise of rules and habits engrained in writers and writing culture. It is often funny, beautiful, and/or thought-provoking. It is, in fact, more or less the perfect book for trying to "find the rules, break the rules."

Also, it's painfully quotable. I used around twenty Book Darts.
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Quotes Felicity Liked

Charles Baxter
“There is such a thing as the poetry of a mistake, and when you say, "Mistakes were made," you deprive an action of its poetry, and you sound like a weasel.”
Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Charles Baxter
“When all the details fit in perfectly, something is probably wrong with the story.”
Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Charles Baxter
“The twentieth century has built up a powerful set of intellectual shortcuts and devices that help us defend ourselves against moments when clouds suddenly appear to think.”
Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Julie M Felicity - what is a 'book dart'? I just finished Baxter's book; it's now overdue at the library. I'll put a short review up here shortly. Thanks for your review. ~~ Julie

Felicity Ha! Oops, failed to realize that might be cryptic. Book Darts are metal bookmarks that point to an individual line on the page. Bookdarts.com -- an Oregon original.

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