Letter from the editor.

Author:Phillips, Jon
Position:Editorial
 
FREE EXCERPT

SOME BOOKS resonate with us in a special way. They might engender awe, transcendence, peace, resolution, inspiration, or just that sense of completely losing one's self in the moment. Such books are rare, and as lovers of literature, we cherish them. We may feel sad when we finish the last page of the book. We will reread, we will ruminate, but the last page marks the end of that first great experience.

For some of us, it is hard to let that moment stand alone--to let it be. We want more. So we read everything else by the author, hoping to experience another transcendent moment (rarely). We go to Internet comment boards to revel in the fact that others loved the book, too. We read interviews with the author, searching for the wisdom in her or his art to be reflected in her or his life.

If we are not careful, we might soon get to the point where we learn how the sausage is made. We might see one interview where the author notes that the climactic moment of the novel was inspired by something other than what we had expected, or by something mundane, or that it was part of a completely different, and failed, novel that he or she had abandoned. And we might discover that it was the novel's editor who had been inspired to insert that key plot point in the middle third of the book. And we might find out that an academic researcher eventually discovered an early draft that seems pedestrian when compared to the finished work.

In our quest for more of the special feeling behind our reading, we might actually lose some of it.

And so it has...

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