Friday, August 17, 2007

Making a Literary Life Friday: Our Favorite Things...

What draws a reader to a certain writer? We have all read books that were New York Times' Bestsellers that we found, well, less than stunning. On the other hand, hasn't each of us picked up a quiet novel that blows us away? The skills and strengths of certain authors makes their work sing - to one person. Is it well developed characters, a rollicking plot, the power of the setting that is a favorite calling card of a favorite author?

Jack Gantos. Joey Pigza books. This author, simply, and beautifully, combines prose, poetry, and humor. For me, it's the humor. It's brilliant and to be admired.

Read this first line of Joey Pigza Loses Control:

"We were on our way to Dad's house and Mom was driving with both hands clamped tightly around the wheel as if she had me by the neck."

Love it. Love this author.


A reader of this blog, Five, handed me Roland Merullo's In Revere, In Those Days after a Grub Street South workshop. She probably thought I'd forgotten about it, but it's been on my bookcase, waiting its turn. What a book! Usually I read through the night, finishing a book within days or even hours, but not this one. The story itself is quiet, the characters deeply introspective -- I like that -- but it's the writing that forces me to slow down, savor the craft behind the words. Thanks, Five, you were right. I hope what I send you is equally satisfying.

Humor drives most of my favorite books, too; intelligence lurking behind the humor or the mystery, a message that shines out from another, deeper layer. I was on vacation this week, so books on CD in the car were my primary resources: YA faves Hoot by Carl Hiaasen and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a surprisingly timeless classic, especially when read by Eric Idle of Python fame.

Sorry to wander off topic, but I couldn't help but share my happiness. The first box of author copies of Negotiation Generation have arrived. If you'd like a taste of what's inside, you can watch a video clip of my appearance on last Monday's Boston's Fox 25 Morning News show. I spoke about why some children push boundaries more than other children, and what parents can do to reduce power struggles.

Negotiation Generation will be in bookstores September 4th, 2007; you can pre-order your copy today at your favorite online book seller.


Lisa said...

Lynne, Bravo on a great TV spot! You looked great (love what you were wearing too) and I'm so glad to be able to put a living, breathing, articulated person to the one I've grown to admire so much here.

For my unknown books, I always return to Ernest Hebert. This, from The Dogs of March: "The pain vaguely frightened Howard. It was the odd, tingling sensation, as if a stranger with unknown powers and intent had got inside him. And, too, he saw his own foolishness at this small fear, knowing that most pain was self-inflicted. A deer could walk for hours with a bullet in its gut, could choke on its own blood, could lie breathing its last on a bed of decaying apples, and still suffer less than a man curled up safely in a trench, fearing guns, fearing not guns but the noise of guns, fearing not noise but that there would be a flash and no noise, fearing in the end a continuum of soundless flashes in which he would not know if he were dead and blown to hell or alive and insane (it was so; he had seen it), whereas the deer would die perfectly, without thought, without confusion, in the end without pain, slipping away with the softness of falling snow."

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...


Thank you for your kind words. And thanks for sharing an excerpt from Hebert. I love hearing who other writers read for inspiration.


Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Lynne, I'm so excited!!! It's like showing off a baby for the first time. I can't wait for your book to take off. As a parent and a writer, I highly recommend this book to everyone. Buy extra copies, I just came from the market and boy, do I wish I had Negotiation Generation to hand out.


Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Thanks, Amy. No doubt I wouldn't be where I am without my magnificent Writers' Group. Lynne

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Of course you would. No doubt my son would have continued to forget his science book and been grounded without Negotiation Generation. He likes your book, too.


Larramie said...

Kudos, Lynne, on Negotiation Generation! I have a feeling it will find a large audience who hopefully will apply your common sense advice to raise well-behaved and self-disciplined children.

Anonymous said...

Did you get a chance to read my other post about the book titled, "Al Capone Does My Shirts?" I also loved Crash, and Holes. Great YA books.

Imagine you have received a tin of gormet chocolates from the Nantucket Chocolatier. You pop off the cover, and pop a dark chocolate and cranberry chunk into your mouth, chew and swallow it quick, just to have another one. Then, you think, what did I just do? So, you gingerly lift the next piece of heaven from the box. You inhale the aroma, and study the swirl of creamy milk chocolate, then you close your eyes, and let it slowly melt in your mouth. You decide not to eat anything for at least an hour, just so you can savor it for a while longer...yeah, the book is like that. You regret that you rushed through the first chapter. You take our time on the rest of the book, and appreciate the affect the writing has on you. You keep the story in your mind, and decide not to read anything else for a few days, just to savor it a little longer. I'm glad you like it.

Lynne, I will buy your book...I have 3 teenaged boys ('nough said!)
My mother used to say, "No is a complete sentence." That's how far negotiations went in our house :) {There were 11 kids in our family}

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Five (Mo)

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Exactly, Mo. I look forward to reading his other books.


Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Hello Five,

I adore your mother's quote, "No is a complete sentence." I may borrow it for my road show! If I come to your community, please come and introduce yourself. It would be nice to meet in public. Lynne