I have made even more progress reading! I really want to make my 100 books this year, so I have to keep plugging away!
So, I picked this up because my friend Rachel recommended it to help me write my thesis. I loved King’s sense of humor, his honesty that wasn’t honesty for shock value, just honesty because life is what it is. I found quite a few lines in On Writing that floored me, particularly when he spoke on writing groups/workshops:
It seems to occur to few of the attendees that if you have a feeling you just can’t describe, you might just be, I don’t know, kind of like, my sense of it is, maybe in the wrong fucking class.
I had to send a text out to my friends with that quote because, well, that’s my attitude. I was floored. I am wondering if I’m related to Stephen King at this point.
Anyway, that said, I’m really interested in checking out some of his stories despite the fact that I’ve shied away from his work my whole life. I haven’t figured out where to start with his work yet, but when I have some time, I’ll sift through and dig in.
Also, bonus, this fits into the “memoir” category for the ERC! Progress!
There is a reason I avoid bandwagon books (like Stephen King), and I feel that reason seems shallow but really it’s brought on by really, really shitty books like those by Cassandra Clare riding the coattails of Harry Potter and Twilight or by Stephanie Meyers riding the coattails of Harry Potter and Sookie Stackhouse. Sometimes, I give into the bandwagon and am happily surprised. This, like my tryst with Stephen King, was a happy surprise. While I’d place Divergent as a mix of Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Uglies, it’s great.
Divergent features a society divided into 5 virtues(honesty, bravery, selflessness, knowledge, and peace) and technically a conglomeration of vices (those who couldn’t decide or who couldn’t cut it). We hone in on Tris who is from the selfless faction but she decides to mix it up. I liked Tris, I liked Four better (and I like the name Four, his “real” name is just not right). I would’ve liked to care more about her friends, would’ve liked to understand the disparities in technology a little more (maybe Insurgent will hook me up). But the bottom line is this is a great first novel for a young writer. It’s got a lot of great pieces and I intend to watch Roth as she develops, hopefully she moves forward.
I wanted to put this book off because the third book isn’t out and I hate waiting but I got bored and curious so I read it. In one day. Anyway, now that you can see what my schedule is like, let’s talk about this sequel. I’m not sure how many books are left in this series but I hope it doesn’t drag on and on. This book picks up hours, maybe, after Divergent and surprisingly, has a really good storyline to accompany it. Surprising because it could’ve gone downhill but Roth shook up the character arcs well enough to make it worth reading. I think she could use some development of the side characters, but I’m really in love with what she’s doing especially at such a young age. The main characters, Tris and Four, continue to grow and act so well, I’m in love with both of these characters.
I was curious as to what was going on in this isolated world but Roth’s reveal left me feeling disappointed and confused. The hard thing about dystopias is the reveal of what has happened to the world to get here and Roth, maybe mistakenly, made it too focal in this story without enough umph. We’ll see how she plays it out in the third book because despite the minor let down, I’m still excited to read it!
I picked this up again for my thesis and though it had a few pages dedicated to writing that had some really great lines–the majority of it was an essay on politics in Britain. I love Orwell but Penguin chose to label this book, “Why I Write” though it barely touched on writing pushing it to a solid 3/5 for me. Would I recommend it? No, it wasn’t really that insightful into Orwell’s writing process so wasn’t really interesting. In fact, when the cat spilled water on it, I said to my husband, “Oh that’s okay,” with a shrug.
I chose this memoir on writing (and running) by Murakami because I fell in love with Norwegian Wood in high school and thought that I’d check out his thoughts on writing. The book is an interesting adventure into the mind of a professional novelist who had no formal training, has no writer friends, and runs so that he can write more. I love Murakami’s style, he writes with a genuine, calm honesty. I’m planning on picking up some more of his novels in the future. Also, this is an in translation book so cross that genre off the list (though I still have more books to check out in that genre!).
I’m a huge fan of Bradbury’s work and have been since high school so when searing for books on writers by writers, I immediately gravitated towards Bradbury. His essays are different than the work I’ve read in terms of the voice. His joking, excited style in his memoir doesn’t match that of Fahrenheit 451 or The Martian Chronicles which is probably a good thing. It’s kind of awesome to see the excitement with which he talks about his writing which is so similar to that of myself and the writers I surround myself with.
This is a window into Bradbury’s process which provides yet another option for the emerging writer to explore. I find it interesting how he uses his life to spawn stories, and the honesty with which he must have to write to do his wild imaginings justice. Definitely a book worth checking out!