John Updike

John Updike, (1932-2009) the American novelist, wrote:

“A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people’s patience.”

and

“Sex is like money; only too much is enough”

and

“The first breath of adultery is the freest; after it, constraints aping marriage develop.”

and

I would rather have as my patron a host of anonymous citizens digging into their own pockets for the price of a book or a magazine than a small body of enlightened and responsible men administering public funds. I would rather chance my personal vision of truth striking home here and there in the chaos of publication that exists than attempt to filter it through a few sets of official, honorably public-spirited scruples.”

Writers like Updike, Philip Roth, or Alice Munro  do not ask you to believe in a cause, adopt an attitude, or change your mind, in order for you, the reader, to be qualified to read their works. They just write stuff, and if it entertains you, great, and thank you for shelling out the price of the book. Consider a writer like Margaret Atwood for the opposite view of the duties of the reader; her talent cannot sufficiently recompense me for the labour of reading her dreary world views. Worse, of absorbing the vibe that I am obliged to like her writing if I want to be among the enlightened.

In small groups, all across Canada, people of all walks of life gather furtively behind barns or in darkened corners of taverns and confess they do not like Margaret Atwood. They disperse before the Culture Police can find them.

Whereas the mere recollection of Munro, Updike, and Roth is inclined to make people happy.

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