Thoughts from a remarkable book written in 1938: The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang, Chinese philosopher and inventor.
Every word has a life and a personality. A writer always has an instinctive interest in words.
Writing is but the expression of one’s own nature or character… style is not a method, a system or even a decoration; it is but the total impression that the reader gets of the quality of the writer’s mind.
A writer in the ‘familiar’ style speaks in an unbuttoned mood. He completely exposes his weaknesses, and is therefore disarming.
A literary masterpiece is like a stretch of nature itself, well-formed in its formlessness…
The ancient peoples called books ‘limp volumes’ and ‘soft volumes’; therefore the best style of reading a book is the leisurely style. In this mood, one develops patience for everything.
I regard the discovery of one’s favourite author as the most critical event in one’s intellectual development. Like a man falling in love with his sweetheart at first sight, everything is right…
A good reader turns an author inside out, like a beggar turning his coat inside out in search of fleas… an itch is a great thing.