Archives: discussion

Book Lists

Pick a genre, era, or topic there is a book list. As a writer I’m addicted to book lists, they are opioids for my reading addiction. I seek them out in libraries, online, and in news feeds. I share the lists I find with fellow readers and writers. If by chance a shared list choice becomes a book club title, a mutual read discovered in conversation or a pass along to a fellow traveler all the better. The hours of reading are enhanced by pooled thoughts Reading of new and loved authors also serve as a tutorial for readers who are also writers. Prose enchantment can lead to a hangover composed of how did she or he do that? The hangover can only be cured by writer analysis.

The holidays offer up a plethora of possibilities. Tis the season of Book Lists. 2018 lists are long — The New York Times Notable 100; nominees for prizes — The Man Booker Shortlist;  short — The Ten Best Books of 2018; funny – The Best Comedy Books That Can Save Us From 2018, classical – The Guardian’s List of the Top 100 Books of All Time.

Some titles are put through an annual final four style tournament. Books are pitted against each other in an online popularity vote until one remains as the Tournament of Books winner for the New Year.

Book lists are great. Right? Yes, to a point. There are also lists that stratify types of writers. Books by Women, Books by African Americans, Books by Natives, Books by LGBTQ authors, you get the gist. The lists like all lists are interesting and somewhat addictive when searching for new voices. Such lists shine a light on authors that might not be included in more established lists. There is a downside. Lists stratified by race, gender or geographical identity also imply that these authors are indeed writers of a sort but they have not earned the unqualified identification of AUTHOR (white male).

Stratification hints that books written by women of any color are for females, LGBTQ authors write for the rainbow community, African American writers serve a population of color and thus all are somewhat less than books written by the ages-old cadre of male writers.

Books are a collaboration between writer and reader. Pages written are learned and shared experiences when the meld is successful. All that matters is the writing that creates touchstones by an author of any color, origin, or historical background. When that connection is made societal pigeon holes become irrelevant. Read a book because it appeals to not because it has been blessed by a list. Happy reading.

Write to Finish – A Road Map to Publication

Write to Finish is crafted for novelists and memoirists who struggle to overcome hurdles and blocks on the road to completion. We will work to enhance detail, character, and place for a solid draft and create a project plan to get to the finish line. The class includes but is not limited to the review process, editing, readers, and submission. Get the tools to bring your book to fruition.  The class is limited to 8

Classics and Rereading

I have the good fortune to facilitate a monthly book discussion at a local library. The format consists of five titles related to a particular topic. The current topic Destruction and Redemption include the titles:

Emma Bovary by Gustave Flaubert  

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene   

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov   

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles   

Morgan’s Passing by Anne Tyler   

As a literature major, it is not the first time I have encountered these titles. And, I admit that I was not thrilled at the prospect of rereading some of them. I’m glad I did. It has made me a more careful writer and attuned to the idea that stories have seasons as does our life.

What have I learned? Readers and writers approach stories in the same way. What way? We come to the page based on the life parameters we have experienced at the point of writing or reading a book. A book that bored us twenty might be insightful or moving a decade later.

The experience is reminiscent of the following Mark Twain quote:

Sometimes you surprise yourself with what you have learned. The certainty of a first experience becomes tainted or enhanced by experience. It does not remain static. You might have a pleasant surprise if you revisit a book you previously disliked. Sad to say you may reread a title that you loved and find it no longer moves you.  Regardless keep reading.

 

 

Write to Finish – A Road Map to Publication

Write to Finish is crafted for novelists and memoirists who struggle to overcome hurdles and blocks on the road to completion. We will work to enhance detail, character, and place for a solid draft and create a project plan to get to the finish line. The class includes but is not limited to the review process, editing, readers, and submission. Get the tools to bring your book to fruition.  The class is limited to 10.

Write to Finish – A Road Map to Publication

September 25, 2017 through  October 16, 2017 – Monday evenings for 4 weeks.

Write to Finish is crafted for novelists and memoirists who struggle to overcome hurdles and blocks on the road to completion. We will work to enhance detail, character, and place for a solid draft and create a project plan to get to the finish line. The class includes but is not limited to the review process, editing, readers, and submission. Get the tools to bring your book to fruition.  The class is limited to 8

 

Read ME

Join me as I lead this two-book series sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council. Read Me features books chosen by Maine author Monica Wood and written by Maine authors or of Maine interest. Our title in August is The Moth. The Moth presents fifty spellbinding, soul-bearing stories selected from their extensive archive (fifteen-plus years and 10,000-plus stories strong). Inspired by friends telling stories on a porch, The Moth was born in small-town Georgia, garnered a cult following in New York City, and then rose to national acclaim with the wildly popular podcast and Peabody Award-winning weekly public radio show The Moth Radio Hour.

 

© 2019 Lee Heffner – Author