March 23, 2014 12:00 AM

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“I've never understood why people, when they've won an Oscar or the Super Bowl or something like that, say that the experience is ‘humbling.’ How is that humbling? It's got to be the opposite. (Not that I'd know.) Here's something truly humbling: I just spent four years writing a book, and the first novel I decided to read after I got done was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Every page is packed with brilliant observations and turns of phrase — and the plot moves ahead like a freight train. This is how a real writer writes.”

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