I am reading Jonis Agee's The River Wife and Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram. Buy River Wife in hardcover; I expect to see Ms. Agee's name on multiple awards lists next year. She is an expert at this craft and if you've the opportunity, she teaches at the University of Nebraska. As for Dang Thuy Tram's diary, I must admit to feeling conflicted. Dr. Dang was a very young physician for the Communist North Vietnamese when she was shot and killed by an American solider in 1970. This book contains the thoughts, fears, frustrations, and, especially, hopes of a woman who despised the "American devils." While reading this book, it's important for me to set aside the politics of war -- if such a thing is possible -- to understand the intensely personal experience of one woman, a poet. She felt so much. I wish I could give her a moments peace.
Last week, I finally read Lois Lowry's The Giver. The book is sheer genius, one that will surely stay with me the rest of my life. I actually gasped while reading. No, not at that part, but when the secret of the apple was revealed. My goodness, Ms. Lowry's brilliant.Hannah
To Lisa's question, wow. If I really needed money, would I write something different? No, and not just because I would simply work at the PR more hours! I suspect there are no guarantees that something written for money will sell either. So then where would I be?
As for current reading, I am finishing Updike, finally. I also read Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson semi-recently. Brilliant, brilliant prequel! The Giver is soon to be on my list, as my middle schooler will be reading that after Spinelli's The Loser and before MacBeth and some Twain. (I'm actually excited about MacBeth. I had a great English teacher, and this one has the potential to make Shakespeare click, too!) On an adult level, I want something fun, humorous (dark or blended with intensity is fine) and yet thought-provoking on a Big Questions Of Life level. No kidding. Any suggestions?
Okay, I don't mean to be flip in response to Lisa's question. But I am trying to write for money!! With my daughter starting her first year of college, trust me, I need some. The thing is, at every juncture of my writing career I've had to examine my personal ethics around what I would write and how my writing would be packaged. Walking the path to the writing life involves climbing integrity mountain.
As for what I am reading. I am almost finished with Water for Elephants; I've been giving it a close read because I am studying the structure, as I'm toying with a similar one for my second novel. I just started Falling Man, by Don DeLillo; what a writer! As I read, I feel secure resting in his capable hands. And I am finally reading, Twelfth Night, because my son has a part in the school play.