Booknotes: Oscar and Lucinda

Screenwriting guru Syd Field often wrote/said: When you’re writing a scene, look for a way that dramatizes the scene “against the grain.” My book notes today are related specifically to this technique of going “against the grain”, using Peter Carey’s 1988 Booker-winning ‘Oscar and Lucinda’, as example. I have loved this novel since I first read it and still dip into my favorite bits from time to time. Continue reading Booknotes: Oscar and Lucinda

Booknotes: Jane Eyre

Originally posted on indiatopia:
In my book circles, the Austen vs Brontës debate has come up often. And, though I’ve come to appreciate Austen’s finer points over time, I have always preferred the Brontës. With the three Brontë sisters, there’s the Charlotte vs Emily debate (Anne, sadly, doesn’t get much airtime). This has been harder. For years, I stuck with Emily because I found ‘Wuthering… Continue reading Booknotes: Jane Eyre

On Supporting Writers

Recently, I watched a writer-editor friend run a crowdfunding campaign for a book anthology featuring works by promising writers of color and get barely any response. I must confess I was not in a position to contribute monetarily myself. It got me thinking, however, of what else I can do, non-financially, to support writers. So here are ten things I try to do to support other writers — both as a reader and a writer — beyond buying their books and without spending money I don’t have. Whether you’re a reader or a writer or both, you might also want to consider some of these. Continue reading On Supporting Writers

5 short stories

Top Five Short Story Reads From March 2017

Fiction from real world events has been done since our cave-dwelling ancestors drew crude wall graphics or sat around fires telling each other embellished and exaggerated personal anecdotes. So, the first step for me, before I began my own such short story, was to look at examples of outstanding short fiction primarily inspired by headlines or real events. Below, you will find five such stories (free to read online, just click the story title link) from Roxane Gay, Robert Olen Butler, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Susan Glaspell, and Meera Nair. From quietly tragic to cleverly satiric to magically surreal, these stories do a whole lot more than tell us what simply happened: they show us the textures, shapes, and densities that might exist below the superficial layers and what that might mean for our own lives. Continue reading Top Five Short Story Reads From March 2017

Booknotes: Writing Women’s Lives

Writing Women’s Lives is an anthology of autobiographical writing of fifty American women writers spanning the entire twentieth century — the first writer here was born in 1860 and the last in 1962. In introducing us to these writers, Susan Cahill, the editor/anthologist, described how their cultural and socio-economic diversity makes them a pleasure to read while also busting many myths around the phenomenon of “woman writer.” And I believe that we, women writers of today, need our models to turn to from time to time — if not to emulate, then to see how we are or could be different. Benchmarks, if you will, that show us whether we have managed to move beyond the traditions set by our predecessors. We also need to know and appreciate the powerful sisterhood to whom we owe so much. Continue reading Booknotes: Writing Women’s Lives