The last eleven years of learning to write and writing while learning I have been told over and over again ‘WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW’.
Today I made a momentous discovery.
Toni Morrison says: ‘WRITE TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW’.
Now that is a new concept. She goes on to say stimulate the imagination. Explore unusual characters who become involved in unusual events.
You might call me a Toni Morrison fan. Have read eleven T.M.books in all and several I have read twice:
The Bluest Eye
Song of Solomon
… all portray unusual characters in unusual situations except for Conversations which is a book of interviews, and Remember, the Journey to School Integration, a book of photos that captures the pain and joy of integration between blacks and whites.
She also says don’t base characters on real people. Using real people make writers literary vampires.
I became a David Mitchell fan years ago when I met him and since then started a collection of his books. Recently while chatting about books Indra mentioned reading Cloud Atlas and rekindled my interest and I am now reading Cloud Atlas again, on my Kindle.
Books being turned into movies. A short list below.
“Cloud Atlas,” by David Mitchell
Trailer on Youtube
Plot Summary: The book follows six separate stories, going from the far past to a future postapocalyptic world, in which each story is suddenly cut off to follow the next character who somehow connects to the previous one: an unenthusiastic voyageur crossing the Pacific in 1850, a poor composer living in Belgium, a journalist from California, a publisher trying to escape his creditors, a genetically altered “dinery server” on death row, a young Islander watching the death of science and civilization.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, and Halle Berry have all taken roles in this movie.
Release date: October 26, 2012.
“On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac
Plot summary: Kerouac’s classic novel captures America and the Beat Generation as he tells the story of his years spent traveling America with friend, Neal Cassady. The two wander through the country searching for self-knowledge and life experience. This classic novel about the yearning for freedom and longing for something more has long defined what it means to be “Beat” and has been an inspiration for many generations since.
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart.
Release date: 2012, yet to be announced.
“The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Plot summary: The novel is set on Long Island during the roaring 1920s. Nick, just returned from the war, rents a house in West Egg where he is invited to the extravagant parties hosted by his guarded and mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Nick eventually learns Gatsby’s story – the tale of a young man who corrupts himself in seeking to attain the American Dream and gain the love of the idealized, and unattainable woman, Daisy.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio is starring as Gatsby, and Carey Mulligan is playing his ex, Daisy.
Release date: December 25, 2012.
“Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel
Plot summary: The novel follows young Pi Patel, a 16-year-old whose family moves from India to North America on board a Japanese cargo ship, along with a number of his father’s zoo animals. When the ship sinks, Pi is left alone in a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, and a Bengal tiger.
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, and Tobey Maguire.
Release date: November 21, 2012.
Maeve Binchy the well-known Irish writer has died at 72 (30 July 2012) Most of her works were set in Ireland. A prolific writer of novels and short stories, her work has been translated into 37 languages.
I have not read any of her books though a friend had given me Circle of Friends many years ago. I would like to read Tara Road.
Though I have not met the author I saw her at an interview – she had a beautiful personality, was down to earth and quite jolly.
Light a Penny Candle (1982)
Firefly Summer (1987)
Silver Wedding (1988)
Circle of Friends (1990)
The Copper Beech (1992)
The Glass Lake (1994)
Evening Class (1996)
Tara Road (1998)
Scarlet Feather (2000)
Nights of Rain and Stars (2004)
Whitethorn Woods (2006)
Heart and Soul (2008)
Minding Frankie (2010)
Dear Shobha, this is in appreciation of the tremendous hard work that I know went into your thriller. Three hundred and three pages of letters made words, led to ideas that made one novel. A big cast of characters remembered and developed, a story line that did not lose its way. Plucked from imagination ‘The Silent Monument’.
This is a big achievement for any writer and my friend did it. Thank you for an interesting read. More success with your writing…
Happy Birthday, Shobha!
“In 1933, thirty-one year old author John Steinbeck newly famous and living near Monterrey, California, with its unmatched views of the Pacific Ocean, began to notice the strange appearance of rundown vehicles from Oklahoma. By 1938, he was watching destitute fathers cooking rats, dogs and cats as food for their children while working on what would become The Grapes of Wrath. Though it became a best-seller, and was almost immediately recognized as an American classic, it was also reviled, accused of being “a lie, a black infernal creation of a twisted, distorted mind” by Oklahoma’s Congressman Lyle Boren, and banned by school boards in New York, Illinois, California, and elsewhere”
Steinbeck titles read twice each:
Grapes of Wrath is set in the Great Depression of the 1930’s is the story of a family of sharecroppers who had to leave their land now a ‘dust bowl’ seek to live elsewhere and still suffer extreme hardship. Winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction (novels)
Of Mice and Men – This tragic play written in 1937 is about George and Lennie, two traveling ranch workers and their desire to save enough money to buy their own farm. A story also set in the times of The Great Depression it portrays much hardship and the struggle against racism and prejudice, and against the mentally ill.
East of Eden – In this novel set in the Salinas Valley Steinbeck deals with the nature of good and evil. The story the Hamiltons and the Trasks is partly based in his own family background, published in 1952.
Waiting to read: Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley and In Dubious Battle
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