From Tolkien in a letter to his son Michael:
Words beget words, and thoughts skid off into side-track. . . . The 'laconic' is by me only occasionally achieved as an 'art form' by the cutting out of 3/4 or more of what I have written and so is, of course, in fact more time-taking and laborious than 'free length.' "
My friend Allen Roth recommends the book, A Company of Readers: Uncollected Writings of W.H. Auden, Jacques Barzun, and Lionel Trilling... as
A treasure of short essays on culture, music, literature, etc. by three brilliant cultural critics. Each essay is a lesson worth learning. Just read Auden's 1959 review of the Hobbit -- he loved it. In an age of gossipy blog posts these essays give the reader something serious to think about.