Thursday, August 25, 2011

Readin', Writin', and More Readin'!

First, two quotes from Jorge Luis Borges:

"Besides, rereading, not reading, is what counts."

"Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I'd rather boast about the ones I've read."

Since yesterday, August 24, was Jorge Luis Borges' 112th birthday, I had occasion to refresh my memory a bit about his work. It has been a while since I'd read any of his poems, and it was his poems that I'd loved so much in college. In fact, I had the honor of being in the audience when he visited Indiana University many moons ago.

During that period I also wrote, but more fiction than poetry. But the poets I favored included D.H. Lawrence, W. H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Stephen Crane. Fiction favorites ran the gamut from Ian Fleming to Harper Lee to Henry James. Hemingway. Faulkner. Bradbury.

I reread Twain's Huck Finn and Melville's Billy Budd over and over again because when I like a book, I tend to zip through it and need to read it again to appreciate the craft. The art.

Which brings me to this chunk of time post-Writers in Paradise Conference to now. Boy, I've read a lot! So much, I'm not sure where to start.

How about with Michael Koryta? He's a fellow Hoosier. I loved his Lincoln Perry mysteries, but The Ridge, Cypress House, and So Cold the River are wonderful reads, too. Then I found Joseph Finder. His new Nick Heller series (Vanished, Buried Secrets) is my kind of cake, and he has stand-alones that rocked my socks off. And speaking of socks... an extra couple of pair were needed to withstand the frigid Russian winter in David Benioff's City of Thieves. This was truly a spectacular story.

I read Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone before I saw the movie. Yes, the book was better. His Death of Sweet Mister is exceptional.

And I haven't even mentioned spending so much time with James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux. This was my favorite series read since John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series.

But then two things thing happened:

1. I discovered I was reading mostly male authors. Of course, I'd read novels by Jane Hamilton, Laura Lippman, and Ann Hood prior to attending WIP, but I really haven't given my sisters a fair shot. (Enter Hank Phillippi Ryan and her Charlie McNalley series, and, uhm, Romance writers.)

2. My family got me a Nook e-Reader for my birthday and two gift cards. Yikes!

Next time: Women and the Word, followed by Likin' de Nook-e

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