Writers read

The Reading Girl (La Leggitrice)
Pietro Magni’s “La Leggitrice,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

My friend Diane Centolella explains that her writing process involves what can sometimes be a lengthy period of contemplation. She cannot begin to write, she says, until things fall unpredictably into place and it feels satisfying to begin composing.

For many writers like Centolella, avid reading nurtures intuition, delivers inspiration, and enables perspicuity.

What we choose to read is powerful. We’re bombarded with commercial content in the popular media, and walking into a library or a bookstore becomes a respite. Few websites evoke the same calming pleasure. Today, I stopped to rest and read “The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton” by Kim Nagy. Nagy is commissioning editor at the Wild River Review, an online art and literary journal. De Botton describes for her the role of literature in today’s society:

One of the things that literature is particularly good at is pinning down more elusive, finely grained truths that tend not to be discussed by the mass media. There are many ways in which you can be reading a book and think, “I’ve never heard anyone really say that before” or “That’s an impression I dimly had but I didn’t know that you could elaborate on that so well.” So, it’s what people have always thought, it’s a conversation with the best minds of the age. It raises our sense of what’s possible in the world of ideas and therefore possible more generally. That’s a constant source of inspiration and nourishment.

Especially since the minds that we frequently hear around us, be they acquaintances or people on television, are frequently not the best minds.

When you need sustenance before engaging in the next debate, you can visit these websites for mental solace in the form of intelligent, literary content:

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