Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I knew I forgot something!

How to read. Damn. I knew something was wrong.

It's funny, actually, because I was planning to write about acquiring Francine Prose's Reading Like A Writer, used. It's hardback, but the index is messed up, carrying over on to the inside back cover of the book. So I might miss a few "Books to Be Read Immediately." That's okay. I usually find such lists more instructive about a writer's personal preferences than anything else.

But back to Grimes' article. This little spate of books, Prose's aside, depresses me. It reminds me of the Voice imprint, playing to our insecurities. This is what to read, this is how to read it. Here's a list of books that will change your life. Your overworked, hate your job, have too much housework, childcare, get-to-the-gym life. The one you barely have time to read in. So why are you wasting your time on somebody else's list of good books?

So why did I buy the Prose book? Because I like her writing and respect her ability to move from fiction to essay to journalism to critcism and back. Because her name turns up everywhere--from Real Simple Magazine to the NYTBR, both as author and contributor. Because Blue Angel was a great contribution to the literature of academia. Because she is the kind of writer I would love to become--combining intellectual rigor with depth and reach.

In other words, her opinion is meaningful to me. I fully expect to learn a great deal from the book. I cannot say the same for YOU’VE GOT TO READ THIS BOOK! 55 PEOPLE TELL THE STORY OF THE BOOK THAT CHANGED THEIR LIFE, by Jack Canfield and Gay Hendricks. These are the chicken soup for the soul people. Their books are almost enough to make me wish for the firemen of Fahenrehnheit 451.

Authors, Books, Publishing

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