Found on WorldCat while searching for Borges' short story The Aleph.
Checked out a library copy and had it just long enough to read the Aleph story - w...moreFound on WorldCat while searching for Borges' short story The Aleph.
Checked out a library copy and had it just long enough to read the Aleph story - which was amazing. The whole book seems like a really clever idea for an anthology -- well-known contemporary writers select and introduce a short story that influenced them. Oscar Hijuelos introduced The Aleph as the story that made him want to be a writer. There are many other great writers represented in the collection as both selected and selectors. I hope to get my hands on a copy of this book again someday and read many more of the stories. (less)
Loved this book. A collection of essays from various writers about the future of writing, reading, and the hallowed book itself. Some were funny, some were moody, some were fantasy and nostalgia combined. I enjoyed something from each of them, and found a lot to think about, as well as breadcrumb trails into other books that are now added to my "to read" list. I also enjoyed the irony of reading this book (that compares paper novels to iPad equivalents) as an ebook in the Kindle app on my iPad, while hoping to get a paper copy to "keep" someday. The last essay had some images with the text that would probably have worked better on paper.
I would love to read these essays again a year from now to see how these musings on a present future sound by then. (less)
There were parts that made me laugh out loud and there were bits that I wrote down to remember. But there were also parts that made me roll my eyes, s...moreThere were parts that made me laugh out loud and there were bits that I wrote down to remember. But there were also parts that made me roll my eyes, skip ahead, and get impatient.
The book reads like a collection of random essays on the writer experience. This really is not a guidebook to writing at all, although I do think there are valuable lessons from her personal experiences. And maybe that's the difficult thing -- all the examples are tied so strongly to her experience as a parent, a Christian, a neurotic paranoid person, that it can be hard to see how her advice would apply to anyone else. At the same time, I really respect and appreciate the honesty that she uses to make it very clear: writing is not a romantic lovely career of idyll success.
The style of the writing here reminds me very much of the character Delirium in the Sandman series - flighty, distracted, confused, rambling, with touches of beauty here and there. (less)
This book was exactly the kind of thing I needed to read at the time. I have been harboring fantasies of moving to the UK, which is exactly what the a...moreThis book was exactly the kind of thing I needed to read at the time. I have been harboring fantasies of moving to the UK, which is exactly what the author did, but the challenges and obstacles he faces were an excellent reminder of how very difficult it can be to be an ex-pat.
I put this book on my Writing shelf, but it's not so much about the act of writing as it is about reading as a writer. He mentions all sorts of forgotten books - from wonderful gems to outlandish eccentric titles - and it is his love of books that brought him to the sleepy Welsh booklover town of Hay-on-Wye. But he's also working on a (different) book of his own, made more difficult in some ways by these constant reminders of older, unsuccessful authors.
I enjoyed his sense of humor and mostly positive outlook, and especially his caricatures of the townsfolk. (less)
I'm not sure if this is the same edition I read or not -- I got mine as a free ebook from Google Books.
I read this to prepare for a reading at our ca...moreI'm not sure if this is the same edition I read or not -- I got mine as a free ebook from Google Books.
I read this to prepare for a reading at our campus library celebrating Dickens' 200th birthday. I found some great pieces and put together a funny collection of anecdotes from Dickens' letters. I give it 3 stars because there is no indication of just how many letters to Collins were NOT included, (and there were many) and quite a bit of repetitive or mundane topics included in the letters that were selected for the book. But then, the edition I had was originally printed in the early 1900s so, of course, they won't include the letters about brothels in Paris. Still a good snapshot into the social and professional life and Charles Dickens.(less)
If you have an extroverted friend who simply cannot relate to or understand how the brain of an introvert works, this could be an excellent book for h...moreIf you have an extroverted friend who simply cannot relate to or understand how the brain of an introvert works, this could be an excellent book for helping with that. We see the world of freshman year at college through the eyes of a painfully shy, nerdy girl. She loves books (as in, pure devotion) and would rather live off of energy bars in her dorm room then face the terrors of confronting the dining hall.
There are some great characters here, fun dialogue, but the story itself ... the story felt jumbled together and the ending, unfortunately, only confirmed that. After reading this, The Magicians, The Unwritten, and other books I'm forgetting, it seems there is a new genre of books about fictional books loosely based on Harry Potter. (less)
At the beginning, I was getting really frustrated with this book - so many of the summaries did not talk about the books in the paintings AT ALL. But...moreAt the beginning, I was getting really frustrated with this book - so many of the summaries did not talk about the books in the paintings AT ALL. But then we started just picking through them and only reading the ones that obviously mentioned authors or titles - that improved the experience immensely. I read the book aloud to Mark and almost got chocked up on Gina Trapani's entry. There were several very beautifully expressed descriptions of the person's relationship with the books selected. If we had a coffee table, this would definitely be a candidate for putting out on the table when company came over. I'm also thinking of getting this as a gift for friends with creative leanings in both visual and literary directions. (less)