It’s that time of year.
I’ll be taking next week off for my mid-year blogging hiatus. I’d like to tell you I’ll be reclined in a beach chair, under an umbrella, sipping a mojito with a good novel in my hand. And, I will, for maybe a total of three hours next week.
The rest of the time I’ll be building sand castles and chasing my two boys all over the place while probably accumulating a light sunburn.
Hopefully, I’ll manage to finish White Teeth up next week.
In the meantime, feel free to browse through the Best of 101 Books.
You guys keep the place nice and tidy. I’ll be back on July 6.
I’ll be out on my annual summer vacation next week, reading White Teeth along the way, so I wanted to share with you some of the best passages in the novel before I leave.
This is an incredibly quotable novel. To me, it has the same feel and style of humor as Catch 22. I just love it.
Here are some of my favorite quotes so far–and some that might appear later in the book as well (thanks to GoodReads). Read more
I’ve always been a proponent of writing in books, even dog-earing pages on occasion. To me, that’s just showing the book a little love.
When I’m finished with a novel, I want the novel to look like I’ve read it. And what better way to do that than writing my thoughts in the margins?
Mortimer Adler wrote a book appropriately called How to Read a Book. Time recently published an excerpt in which Adler explains why you shouldn’t be ashamed to write in your books.
I love this. Read more
Well I’ve been building up the awesomeness of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, and today I thought I’d share one of my favorite passages from early in the novel with you.
Archie Jones is one of the novel’s two protagonist. He’s a middle-aged white guy who works at a paper company (Michael Scott, anyone?). He’s been divorced twice, and the novel opens with a failed suicide attempt on his part.
I know what you’re thinking. Such a dark novel!
The beauty of White Teeth, though, is the way in which Zadie Smith dances around this darkness with humor. This is a really funny novel.
Take a look at this passage in which the narrator describes Archie’s younger days as an athlete. Read more
In light of my scathing critique of superhero movies on Friday, I thought I’d lighten the mood and let some of you superhero fans speak out.
I want to hear about your favorite superhero–or superhero film–and why you like them. I would especially love to hear from you if your favorite superhero is Aquaman or Robin. You must explain.
For me, maybe it’s a technicality, but my I don’t have a favorite superhero. Batman is my favorite, and he doesn’t have superpowers, right? So he’s not a “superhero,” is he?
I’m sure there’s many an obscure superhero I’ve never heard of, so enlighten me.
Hold on…it’s Hot Take Friday!
Yes, I’m not a fan of superhero movies and perhaps that puts me in a minority among middle-aged males, but I can’t help it.
Don’t get me wrong…I used to like the superhero films. I remember watching the early versions of Superman with Christopher Reeve and the late 80s-early 90s cheesy Batman movies.
I enjoyed them as a kid. Now, though, I’d probably rather watch a Lifetime movie starring an aging Jason Priestley.
The Guardian published White Teeth author Zadie Smith’s 10 rules for writing in 2010, and they’re pretty awesome.
- When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
- When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
- Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
- Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
- Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
- Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
- Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
- Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
- Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
- Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.