August 25, 1980 12:00 PM

edited by James Charlton

To writers, getting there is apparently none of the fun. If bus drivers, say, complained as much about their work, public transit would be dead. Many of these 300-odd quotations, compiled by the head of Quick Fox Publishing Co., are self-pitying. For example, the great sports columnist Red Smith observes: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” Notes Samuel Johnson: “Sir, no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” Ogden Nash: “Poets aren’t very useful/Because they aren’t consumeful or very produceful.” Readers also get in their licks. The Duke of Gloucester, receiving a copy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II from the author, commented: “Another damned thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?” Henry James’ sister, Alice: “What a sense of superiority it gives one to escape reading a book which everyone else is reading.” Aspiring Great American Novelists and those who want to discourage them could all use this little volume. (Pushcart Press, $6.95)

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