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Why it's hard to tweet literature

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Last week I posed the question of whether journalists make good authors. Responses from readers were provocative. In short, there seemed to be an agreement that journalists include details in service of the story or argument; writers are more willing to use details and language to create atmosphere, to allow a reader to be in a moment, or capture an idea or image.

In my experience, reading a novelistic (whether fiction or creative nonfiction) work often feels like swimming. I can’t see any one thing clearly, but I have a sense of an entire experience washing over me. I feel submerged.

Funnily enough, just yesterday I indulged in exactly that sensation, starting Lynne Cox’s autobiographical "Swimming to Antarctica." Cox is a professional long-distance swimmer, perhaps best known for swimming across the Bering Strait to ease tensions between the US and the USSR during the Cold War.

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