“No shirt or sweater ever changed a life.”

“No shirt or sweater ever changed a life.”

As the holiday season approaches, I’d like to share this timeless advice from Annie Dillard’s “Notes For Young Writers”: 

Buy hardback fiction and poetry. Request hardback fiction and poetry as gifts from everyone you know. Give hardback fiction and poetry as gifts to everyone. No shirt or sweater ever changed a life. Never complain about publishing if you don’t buy hardcover fiction and poetry regularly.

Buy books from independent booksellers, not chain stores. For complicated reasons, chain stores are helping stamp out literary publishing.

I’d also suggest magazine subscriptions–and literary journal subscriptions–as gifts.  It’s lovely to open one’s mailbox and find a magazine or journal, a nice surprise when one picks up the mail at the end of the workday.

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