Book Me ….

February 19, 2009 § 9 Comments

Been reading up a bit, but there’s a theme in all of it. About writing. Books about writing. Writers on writing, and the like. And then the bit of chick lit thrown in for good measure. Here are a couple mini-reviews but also the report on a treasure of a book just found, a writer just stumbled over.

readlinglikea(this one’s for writers, patient writers, who want a “refresher” on both sides of the reading/writing fence)
READING LIKE A WRITER – Francis Prose  (Is her last name for real?)  The book is good, rather like being in a classroom as she points out the meat, er, the craft, in sentences and structure. In fact, she includes such lengthy passages to make a point, you forget you’re reading her book and start enjoying the one being used as example. But ti’s a good read for your shelf if and when you need a bit of a writing support group, or a reminder on something.

lastchancesaloon(this one’s for sheer entertainment though not sharp and witty as Diane Johnson or even the venerable Ms Austen) LAST CHANCE SALOON – Marian Keyes   Nope, not kidding. It’s pure chick lit. Can’t help it. I read her stuff. She better be coming out with a new one soon, in fact. This one, pictured (and nearly finished ’til the book slaps me in the face as I fall asleep), is one of her earlier ones. Not her best, but I don’t care. I’m willing to crawl around the pubs and apartments and work places where her characters live and chat and eat and worry about or enjoy being in love.  OK, true confessions time: I have a chick lit shelf where Ms Keyes, Ms Weiner, Ms Plum Sykes and yes, the blonde Ms Bushnell all share a space. Just below our Dickens shelf and just above our poetry shelf.

writershouses(this one’s for writers with a small passion for interior decor as well as a curiousity about how other writers live)WRITERS’ HOUSES – It’s a lovely coffee table book with glorious pictures of writers homes. I haven’t even heard of some of them (European) but gorgeous places from the rococco to minimal. I found the accompanying text and descriptions of their lives and wives (or husbands) a bit trite but still, it was a lovely walk through more than a dozen homes. As always, there is also the endless fascination with spaces and places where writers work.

(already pictured, on the right, as “what I’m reading now”) (this one’s for the writer with a historical bent)
AKENFIELD – still pounding away at this one but can’t help but think it wouldn’t be a good idea to write about every town or county in this way, interviewing to find out how things were and going back after a decade to see how they’ve changed. In fact, every town should appoint a chronicler to get the place inventoried, expounded, written up in all its glorious details. As a friend noted, however, ya’ gotta love Britain to get through this one. And sheep, yeah, ya’ gotta love sheep, too. And pubs. It’s sounding better every moment, isn’t it?

thinkaboutmemoir(this one’s for the writer who still has the capacity to go “aha! jolly good idea!”)
THINKING ABOUT MEMOIR – Abigail Thomas  I really shouldn’t blab on about this tiny tome but I love it. Simply put. Her writer is good, charming, and you like the book because you like her, the author. She is on a typical topic yet it’s quite orginal. And then I find, sprkled throughout and fitting in perfectly with the writing she’s talking about, various writing exercises. Oh, bliss. Oh, little find, sitting right there on the library shelf, winking at me when I walked in the library door yesterday. Just have a look. Appparently she’s a professor NYC’s New School. Sign me up for class. Um, no, I haven’t finished yet but don’t think this one is just about writing memoir, unless you correctly interpret “memoir” to mean even those things that happpened last year or last week. Give it a whirl. Probably at your library; if not, $14.95 at the store. It’s a lovely bit. Maybe it’s the mood, here in the deep of winter, maybe it’s this week passion to read books about writing, but there you are. A worthy little hardcover.
Suspect it will surely lead to reading her THREE DOG LIFE.

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§ 9 Responses to Book Me ….

  • anno says:

    Francine Prose’s book is one I keep browsing through at the bookstore… haven’t succumbed to buying it yet, but I might be getting there. Your other recommendations look interesting as well. After reading The Cloister Walk, I’m probably going to need a fast fun read (Marion Keyes?) to clear my head before beginning Acedia. Kind of like enjoying a champagne sorbet between the pasta course and the entree, right?

  • laylou says:

    i’ve always admired how you can read two books at once. I have only one going right now… I really like it, just need more time to read it =)

  • jeanie says:

    This is fun and you’ve been busy! Wirters Homes sound especially wonderful — good eye candy? Have a lovely weekend!

  • Heather says:

    I’ve read all of Marian Keyes as well as Jennifer Weiner. Love them!

  • Becca says:

    You are a well rounded reader/writer, my dear! And there’s nothing like some good lite reading after some of those weightier tomes!

    I have the Prose book, but I found it a rough go. As much as I like the idea of analyzing every word in every sentence, I’d never get through a book if I did! Although I admit that sometimes I read like I’m eating jelly beans…just poke ’em in without tasting the flavors!

    The book on Memoir sounds great. I love books about writers and writing!

  • oh says:

    Anno – If you’re going to try a Marian Keyes, go for THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY. yikes, not sure you’ll like it. It’s long and light. Enjoy!

    Laylou- and what IS that book you’r reading? You and Irish read some very good and cool stuff. Keep me current!

    Jeanie – yes, great pictures in the Writers’ Homes books. It would be great project to do a current one!

    Heather – so glad you stopped by. send your url; we’ll visit you, too!

    Becca – what a great line: “sometimes I read like I’m eating jelly beans – just poke ’em in without tasting the flavors!” wonderful. (and also because it’s true – i think many of us might do this, too, eh?)
    Yes, have a look at the Abigail Thomas book. I’m tellin ya’, you will like it.

  • qugrainne says:

    When I saw this book in your stack of library books, it immediately went on my list for that afternoon’s library visit! I enjoyed the photos too. Writers’ Houses, photographs by Erica Lennard, text by Francesca Premoli-Droulers.
    May I add a fun writer’s book that I currently have my nose in? How Not to Write a Novel : 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them–a misstep-by-misstep guide / Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. It is great fun, and I SO CRINGE when I catch a glimpse of myself…..
    Happy weekend!

  • oh says:

    Thanks, Q – because you gave correct TITLE for the book I was writing about (WRITERS HOUSES – of all things for me to mis-type!!!), I found the picture of the book and stuck it in the entry.

    And, the book on HOW NOT TO WRITE… sounds good. Hoping to do some cafe time this weekend (at B&N) and will look it up.

  • Molly says:

    I found your site by way of andilit. The memoir book by abigail thomas sounded so interesting that I immediately reserved it through my local library. After reading the comments – I think I need to also check out the book How NOT to Write.

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