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" A lot of fiction doesn't answer a question that any reasonable person would ever ask. "
" By the time I got to college, the Cold War was basically over. "
" One of the most painful parts of a breakup is having the feeling that your life is a story, and then the other person leaves and takes the story with them. And you're left there without it. You're left in this version of life that's basically a succession of events and interactions that don't seem to be going anywhere. "
Life Is A
" People don't become writers because they love having spontaneous, real-world interactions with living people as bodies with clothes in time. "
" Russian literature got me interested in what literature means. "
" I find something very appealing about taking literature very literally. "
" Proust's 'In Search of Lost Time,' especially 'Time Regained,' made me think differently about what the novel is and can do. Then I forgot about it, then reread it and remembered again. "
" It's kind of an embarrassing story - that's why it's called 'The Idiot.' But looking back at your past self, you see that this person had reasons for everything she did. There's a whole lot of awkwardness, but really, what should one be embarrassed about? "
" My parents were born into a secular country. They met in Turkey's top medical school, moved to America in the nineteen-seventies, and became researchers and professors. "
" There's a lot to be said for an American-style liberal-arts education, which prevents young people from professionalizing right away. "
" If, for a moment, it seemed that September 11th could be identified with Iraq, the illusion was short-lived. "
" I like a novel to have a certain amount of dead time and filler - unremarkable scenery, descriptions of getting from point A to point B, dialogue in which not much is said - in between the parts that are electric. With a long work that you don't read in one sitting, I think that makes for the best reading experience. "
" I grew up hearing that if it hadn't been for Ataturk, my grandmother would have been 'a covered person' who would have been reliant on a man for her livelihood. Instead, she went to boarding school, wrote a thesis on Balzac, and became a teacher. "
" Read enough about the dung beetle, and a picture of its character emerges: patient, optimistic, uncomplaining. "
" My family is very feminist, and they consider that Islam is not a super feminist religion, which I know people can argue about. But that's - anyway that's how I was brought up, so it would be odd for me to suddenly just up and start wearing a headscarf. "
" For a Nabokov fan, paging through 'Fine Lines,' which includes a critical introduction and several essayistic evaluations of Nabokov's scientific oeuvre, can feel a bit like reading the second half of 'Pale Fire': one is confronted by a content-rich, almost dementedly tangential commentary on an increasingly inscrutable work. "
" It's important not to censor yourself and not to get upset or demoralized when you write bad stuff. "
" I felt grateful to Ataturk that my parents were so well educated, that they weren't held back by superstition or religion, that they were true scientists who taught me how to read when I was three and never doubted that I could become a writer. "
" I've developed this love of trashy Russian literature. There's a women's detective series that I was obsessed with for a while, written by Aleksandra Marinina, the former chief of police. "
" Many books have changed my life, but only one has the word 'life-changing' in the title: Marie Kondo's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.' "
" Everyone has a certain amount of bad writing to get out of their system. "
" I like to think that I know a lot of words, but I definitely don't know all of them. "
" The first time I held an African drum in my hands was at Koc University in a forest in the northern suburbs of Istanbul. "
" The first thing I tried to write was a novel, when I took that time off in grad school. Then I didn't finish it. I went back to school, and then I started writing nonfiction kind of by accident. "
" Most Americans have probably heard the song 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' about a billion times in the supermarket alone. "
" My parents were educated in the Turkish system and went straight from high school to medical school; my mom, who had skipped a grade, was dissecting corpses at age seventeen. Growing up in America, I think I envied my parents' education. By comparison, everything I did in school seemed so sort of low-stakes and infantilizing. "
" You base your actions on a projected ending, which you actually don't know. However, when you reach the crucial point, and the pinnacle event doesn't occur, you just need to go on, and something else will happen. "
" There's definitely a culture of Russian literature in Turkey. And in the U.S. too, to an extent - especially Dostoevsky. "
" There are very few things that I have any patience for that are not at least a little bit humorous. "
" There's this idea that if you want to write, you shouldn't study literature because then you're dissecting what you love, and you should keep your love of literature pure. I think that's kind of silly. "
What You Love
" For much of my adult life, I believed, inaccurately, that I knew the story of Charles Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' - that I remembered it from childhood. "