Friday, October 19, 2007

Making a Literary Life Friday:Writers and Their Books

Buttonwood Books in Cohasset is known as a great supporter of writers and their books. A few times each year, they host a Coffee with the Authors series where writers discuss their novels, readers ask questions, and everyone enjoys both the books and the magnificent view of Cohasset Harbor. There's Amy with Writers' Group friend John Elder Robison, and novelists Leah Hager Cohen and Michael White. Which writers and their books have you discovered this week?

John Elder Robinson's Look me in the Eye, of course. I mentioned it to a teacher where I work (a private academy for children with autism and related dirorders north of Los Angeles) then I bought it on my way home that day.

I finally met John Elder Robison! And what a treat. He is as charming in person as he is on the page. I urge you to go to one of his readings for Look Me In the Eye if at all possible (currently #11 on the NYT's bestseller list). He had the room in stitches. Thanks for all of the advice, John, I'll see you again soon. And while you're out and about, pick-up a copy of Leah Hager Cohen's House Lights. The brief excerpt she read (in the most engaging voice; I can't imagine she's not a singer) has invaded my thoughts in every quiet moment since. All of her reviews have been stellar. And Betsey Detwiler, owner of Buttonwood Books, highly recommends Michael White's Soul Catcher. I always trust Betsey's advice.

In other book news, the day after I signed with Shaye Areheart Books, my lovely editor Sally Kim sent me a box of books! Who knew free books was one of the perks? I'm working my way through them now. If you've not yet read Sharp Objects (unbelievable, completely original, definitely one to get in hardcover) by Gillian Flynn, Debra Ginsberg's Blind Submission (fun, especially if you're querying agents now), or Lee Martin's The Bright Forever, well, you must. The moment I finished Bright Forever -- did I mention it was a Pulitzer finalist? -- I wrote Lee Martin a note and, gentleman that he is, he immediately wrote back. His writing humbles me, makes me feel a bit ridiculous calling myself a writer. If you're wondering about the rules of POV, voice, transitions read this book the way Francine Prose would have you do.

This year's The Best American Short Stories has pieces by Louis Auchincloss, Anne Beattie, T.C. Boyle, Alice Munro, and the list goes on. One gorgeous, powerful piece of inspiration after the other!

We imagine you are taking D.C. by storm, Lynne. When you get back, we are eager to hear more about your book tour for Negotiation Generation.


Lisa said...

I never, ever ignore a good piece of advice, especially when I feel like it speaks directly to me -- so I just ordered The Bright Forever. I'm establishing my own rules about POV and I can use all the help I can get :)

I'm reading If on a Winters Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino right now for my Experimental Fiction class. What a wild ride, but I love it!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Not only did Lee Martin craft a devastating story, he created honest characters who will live with you for a while to come. This book is an mazing feat. I wish I could be one of his students.

Don't forget Sharp Objects. It's one of the most original stories I've read in years. Amazing writing and characters. No wonder Stephen King blurbed it.

And John's book is a brilliant debut, don't you think? Wow.


Gail said...

Great picture, Amy!