Stephanie McCarthy

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Great New Books

In Book Reviews, Uncategorized on August 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I’m currently reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple.  I’ve gotta say, she’s really good.  The different points of view are a little distracting at first, but once you fall into the rhythm it’s easy to jump back and forth.  I think my favorite line so far was about people making creepy food requests.  I can so see me doing that.

I’m also reading Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford to get me in the mood.  Some of the dialogue is a bit trite, but overall it’s getting the job done.

My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said “books” and he rolled his eyes.  Like books can’t be a “real” gift.  It’s really all I want.  Attica Books has some good titles out right now, and I’m not just saying that out of self-interest.  Theft by Chocolate by Luba Lesychyn and A Woman of Temperament (which I frequently misspell, but really, how often am I spelling it?) by Lucille Duff Gordon. 

 

If you read any of these, let me know what you think.

Hubris

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I have to say, writing keeps you humble.  Just when you think you’ve done your absolute polished best… you haven’t.  I recently re-read Tender is the Night and realized I’m light years away from any mastery of this craft.  When I first started writing I experimented with various voices, mainly copied from other authors, and of course it didn’t work.  Not that my early efforts were bad (okay, they were really bad), but they weren’t me.  Once I realized I had to work to sound like me, and my voice wasn’t Hemingway or Faulkner or Anita Brookner or Penelope Lively, my writing got much, much better.  But I had to get over myself in the role of “author” to find myself.

 

So, my question to you is:  How did you find your voice?

My So-Called “Genre” Fiction

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

As a writer and reader, I think a lot about genre fiction.  If I tell people I’m a writer (which I try not to do very often to avoid the looks of pity and fear), the first question is usually, “What kind of books do you write?”  Almost everyone has their own “type” of book.  Oh, I would never read __________ b/c it’s too graphic.  Or I never read _______ b/c it’s too unrealistic.  Members of these genre cliques  are usually fiercely protective.  For example, many mystery readers believe mysteries are “smart” (i.e., they involve some kind of mental challenge).  I’m not so sure.  I’ve read many mysteries that were nind-mumbingly formulaic and dull.  And is this the measure of a good book, anyway?  Do you want to be challenged?  I’ve suggested that the main purpose of a book is to bring a level of comfort to the reader, regardless of what that comfort zone might be. 

So, why do you read? Is there anything you’ve read that defies genre?

One Fine Day

In Book Reviews, Uncategorized on August 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I’m re-reading (yes, I know, when am I not re-reading something?) Mollie Panter-Downes One Fine Day and am once more blown away.  Her lyricism is enchanting and the world she creates of post World War II Britain is both tragic and optimistic.  I wish she had written more fiction, but since she didn’t I’m determined to track down some of the work she did for The New Yorker.  When I have time… when I’m not re-re-reading.  Keep thee away, Sarah Caudwell.