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July 29, 2013 5:51 AM   Subscribe

By Heart is a series on The Atlantic's website where writers speak about their favorite passages, each illustrated by Doug McLean. Here are a few of the entries so far: Stephen King on two opening lines, Hanan Al-Shaykh on One Thousand and One Nights, Susan Choi on The Great Gatsby, Jessica Francis Kane on Marcus Aurelius, Fay Weldon on The Myth of Sisyphus, Adam Mansbach on Montaigne, Ayana Mathis on Osip Mandelstam, Anthony Marra on Jesus' Son, and Mohsin Hamid on Haruki Murakami.
posted by Kattullus (7 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
I checked out the first link, to Stephen King and wasn't disappointed. I could read or listen to King talk about writing for days.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:03 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not familiar with Fay Weldon, but I'll be damned (by Zeus) if her personal connection to Camus' essay on Sisyphus isn't spot-on. It's encouraging to know a successful author feels exactly the same way I do about Camus.
posted by Mooseli at 8:05 AM on July 29, 2013


When I asked her how she's managed to stay so prolific, she responded with a little-known line from Albert Camus about Sisyphus

Little-known line? He's kidding, right? I thought 'One must imagine Sisyphus happy' was one of Camus' biggest hits. (I have loved that essay on the myth of Sisyphus since I first read it in high school...)
posted by fikri at 8:22 AM on July 29, 2013


Jeeze this is a crazy treasure trove.

Somedays I think the internet was created specifically to keep me from getting anything accomplished. (Yes, I *am* that egocentric. Why shouldn't I be?)
posted by DigDoug at 9:16 AM on July 29, 2013


There's some great stuff in here, thank you. As an inveterate Fitzgerald and Gatsby fan, not only did I think that Choi absolutely had some great insights about the book, it inspired me to buy her book. I love it when people talk freely about something that really touches them, it's electric, every time.

(Not every one was like that, some were transparently trying to work their current books into their answers, even when they didn't fit. I thought the Agee one was quite good, too, and would have bought the book if that wasn't ten bucks on ebook here).
posted by smoke at 9:08 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anything that prompts yet another re-reading of Jesus' Son is alright by me.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:12 PM on August 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Guardian just asked the writers longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker for their favorite first lines, which compliments the By Heart list of authors' favorite opening lines quite well.
posted by Kattullus at 6:20 AM on August 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


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