Welcome to bookchat where you can talk about anything...books, plays, essays, and books on tape. You don’t have to be reading a book to come in, sit down, and chat with us.
These are the questions that have piled up in the inbox of my brain this week due to books I have been reading. I welcome your thoughts.
1. Does “Who Done It” matter as much as “How They Caught Them”?
I read a lot of mysteries as you all know. It occurred to me the other night that I don’t really care very much who did it. What is fun is to watch the detective or PI find a way to catch the wrong doer. How does he find clues? How does she decide who to talk with and what thinking processes are being used? How does it affect the detective?
It is true that when the detective is in danger, I get worried and keep reading past the time I should quit, but it is also the reasoning that delights me. I enjoy it when there is teamwork, too. One person bounces thoughts off the other. I get to see the thoughts and questions and that makes my brain work, too.
Puzzles are fun. When the author includes me, it is exciting.
2. How do we learn to think outside the box?
So many detective and PI stories are interesting because the protagonist thinks outside the box in the hunt for justice.
How do we learn to do that?
Can it be taught? Do we catch it like the measles from reading?
3. Have you really thought about how many kinds of trucks there are?
My three year old grandson loves trucks so I gave him a book about them Saturday and read it to him. It has been a while since I thought about so many different kinds of trucks. My favorite truck right now is the cement mixer. What is yours?
4. Does a writer have to suffer to write well?
I wanted to read about Tennessee Williams’ life because I have always loved The Glass Menagerie so much, and I thought I would understand more about his family and how he came to be a writer from reading his biography. I also liked A Streetcar Named Desire. Both plays are haunting and poignant. But after reading Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams, I wonder if I will ever feel the same about the stories. There may be such a thing as knowing too much about a writer. (Which thought led to question number five below, too).
But the question that blossoms in my mind after reading the book is why can’t we do more for writers who are trying to write and nearly starving? I wished with all my might that I might have been around and smart enough to send Tom money. Would he have used the money wisely? Would that matter? Would he have written more? How do we know which authors deserve to be helped? Is it from desperate circumstances that great writing comes? How many wonderful books never happened due to lack of money?
Tennessee Williams wrote and revised during the Depression and during WW II. He worked hard at typing, but he had to pawn his typewriter over and over. He fought with his “blue devils” and he was difficult to live with. Maybe money was not the only answer, but surely it might have helped.
Many writers and artists endured poverty and continued to paint and write. My hat is off to them. I think they would still have been good writers and artists without suffering so much. What do you think?
5. Am I sorry I read that?
Sometimes I worry because I can’t remember what happened in a book a few days after I finish it. I think that is a shameful thing. But sometimes a book will linger in my memory when I wish it would not. Being haunted by it is not quite what I mean. I usually like those kind of stories. Being hunted by it is more what I am considering.
Should I be glad that important stories do that or worried that some unimportant stories are clinging to undeserved life? Should I have stopped reading a book when it became just ugly? Often, I do that, but sometimes I go on longer than I should.
6. How do we thank writers of memoirs that take a huge risk to inform us?
I just finished The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn Saks. It is an amazing book. It shows how her thoughts were disturbed and how she fought them. I am grateful that she was able and willing to share her life so I could understand what it is like. I feel the same about An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison and My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor. They are amazing stories.
7. Why do some authors think they can write a children’s story with three children and a lot of violence and nothing to inspire the reader and think it will be the new Harry Potter?
Having read two of those kind of books recently and resenting them hugely, I admire Rowling even more.
Do you have any late night thoughts about books? Please share.
Diaries of the Week:
Write On! The Sense of an Ending
"The Lost Art of Finding Our Way" by John Edward Huth — A Book Review
It is sad to lose Mr. Banks at a young age:
The Culture novels of Iain M. Banks
by Mark Sumner
Political Book Club: "Let the People In"
by Diana in NoVa
Contemporary Fiction Views: Looking back without anger
What Is Man?
by Robert Fuller
Robert Fuller says:
Chapter 10 of "The Rowan Tree" is now available online:NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early
The audio book edition will be available soon! I also plan to do another Goodreads Giveaway soon.
I'm considering using "Camelot meets West Wing" as a short tagline. I welcome any comments on that.