Every book reviewer has probably, at one point or another, savaged a book a bit too savagely. But if given the opportunity, would you recant? Would you admit that you’d overstepped? Would you feel good about doing so? At an event last month, Snowball’s Chance author John Reed hosted an event at which NBCC critics did exactly that.
“Writing gives me great feelings of pleasure. There’s a marvelous sense of mastery that comes with writing a sentence that sounds exactly as you want it to. It’s like trying to write a song, making tiny tweaks, reading it out loud, shifting things to make it sound a certain way. It’s very physical. I get antsy. I jiggle my feet a lot, get up a lot, tap my fingers on the keyboard, check my e-mail. Sometimes it feels like digging out of a hole, but sometimes it feels like flying. When it’s working and the rhythm’s there, it does feel like magic to me.” Susan Orlean on why she writes.
On the topic of reading classics: Alberto Manguel at the New York Review of Books considers the dialogue across history that books afford. “The relationship between a reader and a book… eliminates the barriers of time and space, like ‘conversations with the dead.'”
“Puzzled as to why her mother had not figured out “Miriam” on her own — or why, after Capote became famous, she did not say much about her letter and his answer — Ms. Akers sought clues.” The New York Times writes about recently discovered letter from Truman Capote to a young reader who misunderstood his first published story. Read our own Michael Bourne on the tragedy of Capote’s life.
Want your writing to have punch? Want your readers to believe you? “The five-word sentence as the gospel truth…Express your most powerful thought in the shortest sentence,” Roy Peter Clark writes in The New York Times. Sorry that every sentence in this post is more than five words.
This week, Football Book Club will be reading Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened — as well as chatting about Steven Millhauser’s Edwin Mullhouse, bemoaning our empty NFL-free lives, and weeping about the shittiness of our respective teams.