Literary Birthday – 18 June – Richard Powers

Happy Birthday, Richard Powers, born 18 June 1957.


  1. I’ve always believed a book functions best when it leaves a person more capable of living in the world.
  2. What I really like to learn how to do is to build sentences that are equal to mental states.
  3. Evil is the refusal to see one’s self in others.
  4. Novel-writing is the only place where someone who would have liked to do anything can still do that vicariously.
  5. The thing that makes reading and writing suspect in the eyes of the market economy is that it’s not corrupted.
  6. Time passes, as the novelist says. The single most useful trick of fiction for our repair and refreshment: the defeat of time. A century of family saga and a ride up an escalator can take the same number of pages. Fiction sets any conversion rate, then changes it in a syllable. The narrator’s mother carries her child up the stairs and the reader follows, for days. But World War I passes in a paragraph.
  7. I don’t mind arguing with myself. It’s when I lose that it bothers me.
  8. Reading is the last act of secular prayer.
  9. The appeal of writing is the illusion that you can somehow bring about the completion and perfection of those things that will always elude you in real time.
  10. Everything interests me.

Richard Powers is an American novelist whose works explore the effects of modern science and technology. His novel, The Echo Maker  won the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 18th June 2014