prose on prose

Books bought:

  • Reading Like A Writer: A Guide For People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

Books read:

  • Girls in Peril by Karen Lee Boren
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Occasionally, while I was teaching a reading course and simultaneously working on a novel, and when I reached an impasse in my own work, I began to notice that whatever story I taught that week somehow helped me get past the obstacle that had been in my way. Once, for example, I was struggling with a party scene and happened to be teaching James Joyce’s "The Dead," which taught me something about how to orchestrate the voices of the party guests into a chorus from which the principal players step forward, in turn, to take their solos.

–Francine Prose, Reading Like A Writer

I’ve discovered that when I write, I, too, have recalled a particular writer that when I read over his or her work, I was able to come over an impasse in my own work.

I’m becoming a big fan of Prose’s. I’d first read her a few years ago, an article in Harper’s on the problems of teaching literature. Then a few months back I read Blue Angel, her satire of sexual harassment on campus. I was hooked.



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