One of the things I can’t do when I’m writing original material is read novels. I can read nonfiction and memoirs but nothing fictional. One reason is that I will get bogged down in reading, which is what I much prefer to do instead of writing. And another reason is that I will get depressed: there are just so many great books and great writers out there that an inevitable comparison to my own stuff leaves me in the dust. Part of me feels inspired while a greater part feels like I could never accomplish what these other, better writers have accomplished.
But when I’m between books, or rewriting, I have at it! On Saturday, I read two books in the afternoon - two! Sheesh! Was I hungry or what? I read “Story of a Girl” by Sara Zarr and “Pretty Little Liars” by Sara Shepard. I loved both of these books and I totally recommend them to both teen and adult readers. Although they are vastly different in tone and character, I thought their stories were similarly about secrets: the secrets we share with others that bind us to them for good or bad and the secrets we keep to ourselves which make us do crazy things.
And then yesterday, I read “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides (and last night while HH was engaged in American Gladiators). This was a dense, sprawling, epic kind of book, the sort that is told by one family member who has - you guessed it - a secret and slowly divulges all of her relatives’ secrets in order to explain her own. I read this over the course of the weekend and let me tell you, when I was done, I was DONE. It took a lot out of me. Parts of it I felt were overwritten, parts were a tad too clever. A comparison has been made to “Tristam Shandy,” which is a wonderful, bizarre, odd sort of thing that was made into a great movie, btw. “Middlesex,” although good, is not as weird and so, is not as successful on that level.
I have a new Elizabeth Berg novel to read, “Dream When You’re Feeling Blue,” and then I’m headed back to the library for more books. I need to devour more and more this week while I’m between projects; I need to gain strength to go back to my work.
On a TV note: how awesome was The Simpsons last night? Loved the presidential primary parody. And note to Patricia Arquette fans, Medium is back tonight 10P! Whoo-hoo!
Your Hollywood connection,