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Ceaseless Reads: Reading Comp
Never stop reading...
Exceptional living writers? 
31st-Aug-2008 08:14 pm
Has anyone read anything by any of the following authors (who, at one time or another have been recommended to me. And yes - I STILL haven't gotten around to reading anything by them yet :p)

Poppy Z. Brite?
David Foster Wallace?
Michael Chabon?
Gregory Maguire?
Ann Patchett?
John Julius Norwich?
Ishmael Beah?
Aryn Kyle?
Anne Enright?
Per Petterson?

Q to all:

What qualities do you think make an exceptional writer?

What qualities do you look for in a book, a story? Simple, straightforward writing? Poetic writing?
1st-Sep-2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
i've read Gregory Maguire and Michael Chabon.
I'm actually a big fan of Maguire. Have you seen the show "Wicked?" it's not really anything like the book. His books are fascinating in story and kind of dark. The language is ... a bit sad? Do you know what I mean - just the way he writes, not necessarily the story. I think it's one of those "weave a spell" kinds of things. But I really liked Wicked and Mirror Mirror. Try reading Wicked, it's sort of an epic tale and really rewarding I think.

And Chabon - I started the Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay but it's soooo long. Usually that's not a hindrance but I didn't finish it. I did, however, listen to the Yiddish Policemen's Union as a book on tape and I loved it! It's a mystery that takes place in a fictional Alaska where everyone is Jewish. The tape version was well-done. I don't know how it would be to just read it.
When I review or recommend a book, I think about the writing style and the plot and whether, in the end, it was satisfying. Usually what's most important to me in a GREAT book is the story (like "His Dark Materials" or the Ender's Game set).

But generally, the more straightforward writers are easier to sink my teeth into. I read a lot of mysteries for that reason. A lot of time the poetic writers take too long to get into the plot and they lose my attention.

So I think pacing is also really important.

1st-Sep-2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for replying. :) I'm going to try Wicked when I get a chance. ;) And yes - I do know what you mean, re: the poignant nature of some writers. Even using the simplest words, they just seem to...make your heart hurt. Sometimes I find the most direct/ 'simple' writers (those who don't use flowery words) are the ones that impact me the most.

And I'm much like you on the nature of a book's readability; I prefer direct, 'clean' writing. This is not the same thing as boring. Not at all. I found Torey Hayden's book pretty 'clean'...they weren't confounded by words that didn't fit. The writing was efficient and direct, and not too winding. It didn't take 100 pages to start, if you know what I mean.

(Another reason why I like J.D. Salinger's work so much, too).
2nd-Sep-2008 12:59 am (UTC)
You know what? I've only read Catcher by Salinger. and "Poignant" was the word I was looking for!

There are some exceptions where flowery writing goes along with a speedy enough plot that it's worth it. I'm thinking of "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" by Salman Rushdie - it was pretty fabulous though it took me months (it normally takes me days to read something). But I was interested the whole time.
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