I am, apparently, behind on the times. Slow on the uptake. Riding the short bus (I’m slow, too, in coming to this expression. I only learned what it meant last year). I’ve got a list of fantastic books that I’ve been reading lately, all of which I want to tell you about; all of which you’ve already heard of.
Each week, Read It Forward gathers the latest and greatest from the world of books to share with our community of readers. This week: Huffington Post asked its readers to recommend books to recognize Earth Day, Penguin art director Paul Buckley shares how he chose the 75 best covers, Time magazine includes six authors on its “100 list” & more.
I wanted to write a story about the intrepid men who traveled from the newly civilized West to a place that remained excitingly dangerous, a fierce and lawless land. I wanted to write about heroes, villains, and dreamers who joined the great stampede to the frozen north. And, oh yeah, as I said, if all that wasn’t challenge enough, I wanted to write a true story, to boot.
“I recently moved from Brooklyn (population: 2.5 million) to Nederland (population 1,500),” says Read It Forward editor Kira Walton. “I manage RIF from this tiny town high up in the Colorado mountains, a far cry from the hustle-and-bustle of the city. On some days, your always-welcome website comments, Facebook posts, and tweets are my only contact with the outside world. Which brings me to my current dilemma: the great outdoors has ruined me as a reader.”
Every week, Read It Forward gathers the latest and greatest from the world of books to share with our community of readers. This week: a book store that sells only one book, the truth about book covers and blurbs, a virtual roundtable discussion of David Foster Wallace’s posthumously published novel The Pale King & more.
Warm, nostalgic, and inspirational, A Reason to Believe is destined to become a timeless tribute to a uniquely American odyssey and a testament to what is possible in our lives and our communities if we are hopeful, generous, and resilient.
I guess you could say I have what is called a concept in mind but not a theme. (I never know the themes of my novels until they’re published and then other people explain them to me.) So I basically begin writing with a few underdeveloped characters, no plot, no theme, no outline, and a vague concept. You see why no one ever invites me to teach a creative writing course.
Books with only heart-breaking plot points, utterly unlikable characters, dysfunction piled atop dysfunction have no choice but to rely on the clarity of the prose and ingenuity of the structure to provide the book’s redemption. In other words, when the content is all hideousness the form has got to be all brilliance. In other other words, it allows great writing to shine through unadulterated.