Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This Week in Reading July 6 - 12

It's hard to get back to work this week after a little time off. Many of the writers on the list right now are fantasists who skirt reality, others lose themselves in memories, some talk about getting away from the hustle and bustle, and even a president who's known not to be an overworker gives one no great incentive to be industrious. So, just sit back and pretend to work while you're reading until work itself takes over and forces you to fall into the stream of things.

The fantasists range from Anne Radcliffe and Mervyn Peake to David Eddings, Jeff Vandermeer and Dean Koontz. The last also writes in other genres, especially mysteries where he is joined this week by Donald Westlake. We also see Marcel Proust whose seven novel great work began with a simple remembered taste of a childhood cookie. Henry David Thoreau got away from it all but he did have to work at it once he got there. Other literary names this week are Anna Quindlen, Alice Munro, and Harold Bloom (who writes about and edits literature but doesn't write necessarily literarily.) And, as most weeks have, the Nobel prizewinner this week is Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

This Week's Question: Who, born this week, advised writers to "Be obscure clearly"?

Answer to Last Weeks Question: Unlike Barbara Cartland, the famous romance novelist born this week who said "We romance writers are there to make people feel, not think", Nathaniel Hawthorne's idea of a "romance" was not a simple story of love, but a dark, complex tale with both thinking and feeling. He said "Easy reading is damned hard writing." Romanticism was the name of the nineteenth century literary and artitistic movement to which he's been associated.

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