backstory

On the week-end I finished reading All That I Am, by Anna Funder. The same friend who had previously lent me copies of The Narrow Road to the Deep North and All Quiet on the Western Front also once told me that ATIA was one of her most favourite novels written in recent times (as opposed to classics or novels written and published decades ago).

It was probably about three years ago that she told me this. I wrote the name of the book down on a bit of scrap paper (we were at work at the time), and fully intended to read it. I can’t remember why she never lent me a copy of ATIA (too precious?) but I set out to find it in book stores. I don’t think I’d heard of it before, but apparently it was a number-one bestseller at some point.  Continue reading

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knives and daggers

There’s a particular scene from The Grapes of Wrath that has stayed with me longer than I could have expected it to (although I’m also not surprised that it has). I can remember parts of the novel if I stop and think about it, but this one part pops into my mind of its own accord. [Warning: spoilers in the next paragraph.]  Continue reading

proud to meet ya

The dialogue in The Grapes of Wrath was a bit hard to get my head around at first, but I suppose I got used to it soon enough. It’s actually really grown on me. I quite like it now. Half worried it’s slipping into my own way of talking, but half don’t mind that it is.

There’s something about the way they speak in TGW that feels more honest and genuine. Unpretentious. You mean to say something so you say it, and you don’t dress it up with fancy words, and you don’t even worry about getting all the words in line with grammar and such. (I still have to spell things correctly, though. Can’t let myself spell words incorrectly when I’m writing.)  Continue reading

lessons from Steinbeck

I wonder how many blog posts I start with “I’ve been reading [insert book title]” or something along those lines… There’s no doubt that books give me plenty of food for thought, and writing is how I digest those thoughts. Here is another such post.

This last month or two, I’ve been reading John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. It was lent to me by a friend from work because I’d expressed interest in reading more of Steinbeck’s novels. Previously, I’d only read Of Mice and Men, and that was all the way back in high school.  Continue reading

Bird by Bird

I’ve been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I borrowed a copy from the library, on a whim, several weeks ago. I’d heard about it before – I’d heard really good things about it. I’ve seen one of her TED Talks, and she seems like a really genuine, down-to-earth person. She seems like someone I could learn a lot from.

(Arguably, you could learn a lot from just about anyone. It just depends on whether you actually want to learn those things or not.)

I probably hadn’t even finished the introduction before I started considering getting a copy of my own. I almost made it halfway before I decided to buy my own copy, and returned the one I was reading to the library.  Continue reading

Birds Art Life Death

Last year I went to the Brisbane Writers Festival, and attended a panel discussion in which I practically fell in love with a book I’d never heard of before, let alone read: Birds Art Life Death by Kyo Maclear. All it took was for Maclear to talk about the book a bit, and I knew this was something I had to read. And it wasn’t that she was just really good at pitching it – she was just explaining what the book was about, and it seemed to be everything I wanted to read.  Continue reading