Q: What are you doing right now?

A: Reading a book I’m not supposed to be reading until I finish that other book there—the book that’ll be overdue in a week. The book I’m reading instead, it’s a bought book, so there’s no rush. But the book, the checked-out book, I’m halfway through—the writing isn’t what I want it to be, the ideas aren’t as insightful as I had hoped. So I’m cheating, in a way. Mr. Palahniuk, Ms. Hempel, and, to a slight extent, Mr. Lish have all spoiled me rotten with writing (or, at least, the expectation of writing) that’ll sink its teeth into you.

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