Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reading is Exce(r)ptional

photo credit: Rick Kopstein
Oy, what a stretch that title was.

(Consider that for you, Mike Wood).

So, fine, sue me. I'm overdue for a blog post here.

I've been lavishing the attention on my YA-friendly blog lately because, well, because that's the only type of book I've sold so far. *waves two womens' fiction manuscripts wildly through the air.*

At any rate.

As usual, I've been reading three books at once, all too slowly: one classic (The Great Gatsby -- would have finished it sooner but I (ahem) lost it for a week and only re-found it last night in one of those "Alzheimery" places which we will not discuss), one YA (The Miles Between -- because I write it, I need to read it too, not to mention I like it) and one contemporary fiction (Tinkers by Paul Harding, which happened to win the Pultizer this year.) I'm not very far into it, but already I see hints of why it might have won, and decided to share an excerpt that I wish I wrote with you. There is nothing after it, because I feel it deserves to stand on its own.

At the outset of Tinkers, we meet George Washington Crosby who is dying in a hospital bed in the middle of his living room, and is seemingly in the hallucinatory throes of his final days:

     "Lack of exercise might have been the reason that, when he had his first radiation treatment for the cancer in his groin, his legs swelled up like two dead seals on a beach and then turned as hard as lumber. Before he was bedridden, he walked as if he were an amputee from a war that predated modern prosthetics; he tottered as if two hardwood legs hinged with iron pins were buckled to his waist. When his wife touched his legs at night in bed, through his pajamas, she thought of oak or maple and had to make herself think of something else in order not to imagine going down to his workshop in the basement and getting sandpaper and stain and sanding his legs and staining them with a brush, as if they belonged to a piece of furniture. Once, she snorted out loud, trying to stifle a laugh, when she thought, My husband, the table. She felt so bad afterward that she wept."

- gae


  1. I beg your pardon - I admit, some of my blog titles have been PUNishing, but yours is just plain bad! I would have gone with some sort of threesome reference or possibly an "I before E EXCERPT after C" type thing. If all else fails, there's always the New York Post approach: "Tinkers is no Stinker" or "Reading is Funwhenyourmental"

  2. i also wish that i wrote this. and that i were reading this. putting it on my Christmas list!

  3. this is the kind of writing that is painful for all kinds of reasons, because it's so effective and because I can only hope to write a few paragraphs like that let alone an entire book. you are my new favorite book recommendation person.
    (by the way, wave the women's fiction a little more wildly so that the right publisher sees it. the world needs your women's fiction.

  4. Hey, Gae, what about having a sidebar, or even a post, telling us about one of your novels? Jody

  5. boy, did i not respond to any of this today?!? Mike, I believe your comment proved my point; Lori, yes,painful,effective, and moreso, and believe me, I have waved wildly... and still do so here and there; and Jody, I do on my website on my womens' fiction page: Maybe I'll spend some posts giving Swim Back to Me a few nods down the road. xo xo me

  6. Just went to your website for the first time. Super-awesome!!

    Yes, I agree with Jody. Include even more excerptional (;) ) excerpts everywhere! They must see the light.