My new blog on Tumblr and What We Read For
"We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The relevant question isn’t 'is this a potential friend for me?' but 'is this character alive?' . . . .[Nora's] rage corresponds to the immensity of what she has lost. It doesn’t matter, in a way, whether all those emotions were the result of real interactions or of fantasy, she experienced them fully. And in losing them, has lost happiness."
Also, I was led to this statement by Jonathan Franzen in a New Yorker discussion on the same subject: "I hate the concept of likeability—it gave us two terms of George Bush, whom a plurality of voters wanted to have a beer with, and Facebook. You’d unfriend a lot of people if you knew them as intimately and unsparingly as a good novel would. But not the ones you actually love."
—Jonathan Franzen, at http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/05/would-you-want-to-be-friends-with-humbert-humbert-a-forum-on-likeability.html
Finally, there is this blow-to-the-head quote from Franz Kafka:
If I had to choose which of my own books even partly resemble Kafka's idea of what a book should be, they would be: The Revised Kama Sutra (particularly the later chapters); The Killing of an Author; Father, Rebel, Dreamer (or Fathers and Sons, War and Love); Impressing the Whites ; and What We All Need.