For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

Balanced Reading For Writing

Zadie Smith on reading as a balanced diet for writing, in a lecture published as “That Crafty Feeling”:

I read lines to swim in a certain sensibility, to strike a particular note, to encourage rigor when I'm too sentimental, to bring verbal ease when I'm syntactically uptight. I think of reading like a balanced diet; if your sentences are too baggy, too baroque, cut back on fatty Foster Wallace, say, and pick up Kafka, as roughage. If your aeshetic has become so refined it is stopping you from placing a single black mark on white paper, stop worrying so much about what Nabokov would say; pick up Dostoyevsky, patron saint of substance over style.