Wednesday, January 25, 2006

This Could Be The Start Of Something Big

Two people in Seattle are suing James Frey and his publisher seeking damages for the the time they "lost" (meaning, I guess, wasted) reading his book A Million Little Pieces.

Seriously, if we all started suing authors because reading their books was a waste of our time, we'd all be in court all the time.

Thanks to for that one.

Worth Every Minute I Spent Reading It

I fell behind reading Louise Doughty's A Novel in a Year column because I was too dimwitted to figure out how to find the new columns without someone else linking to them. But I've got it worked out now.

This project is great. Doughty's second week assignment was "Read." And the really neat thing about the assignment is that she explained why writers should read. "Aspiring writers should read" is one of those bits of advice like "Write what you know" that everyone throws around but no one explains.

"[Reading]Bad writing can be an incredibly positive influence if you learn to analyse why it is bad and resolve not to do the same."

Yes! Yes! Exactly!

Doughty also advices aspiring writers to read contemporary authors.

"...if, as is almost certainly the case, your time is precious and you are trying to focus intently on your own work, you will get more practical help from reading Hilary Mantel or Graham Swift than you will from George Eliot or Leo Tolstoy.

"All writers are products of their own era, however timeless the themes of their writing or the excellence of their prose. If all you read is Dostoevsky, then however much you enjoy his work as a reader, as a writer you will simply get depressed because you will never be Dostoevsky."

I don't know about the getting depressed part, and I have to admit I've never heard of Hilary Mantel, but Yes! Yes! We are all products of our own era!

I've got to go out and find one of this woman's books.

And here's my first sentence from Week One's assignment to write one sentence, beginning with the words, "The day after my eighth birthday, my father told me...":

The day after my eighth birthday, my father told me, "You're a fine son. I love you dearly. But you're not like the rest of us."

Okay, it's not just one sentence. But it's close.

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