Before we get started, don’t forget about Heather at See Heather Write’s contest–with confetti! Win a signed copy of Dennis Lehane’s “The Given Day” or Anita Shreve’s “The Pilot’s Wife”!
And a super special thanks goes out to Liza at Middle Passages who put up the nicest post about me yesterday. For a sampling of her great work, go read this post about a recent trip she made to an Italian Food Emporium. Her writing is so visual, I promise you you’ll be hungry all day. I’m getting peckish now just thinking about it.
Now down to business. There’s a great old story by Donald Barthelme that I love called Me and Miss Mandible (story at the link). The story tells of Joseph, a 35-year old former insurance adjuster who, through a clerical error, is mistaken for an eleven year-old and ends up in Miss Mandible’s sixth-grade class. The other kids know the system and have the day-to-day routine down pat while clueless Joseph struggles to make sense of it all, despite his maturity.
Looking at my TBR list last night, I realized I’m a lot like Joseph. The “A-ha!” moment happened when I noticed how many older works are in my queue. For example, I am about half-way through re-reading John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace”. The copy of “To Kill A Mockingbird” I ordered last week arrived from Amazon yesterday. Other recent conquests include “Catch 22” and “Requiem for A Dream” (my review here).
I know, I know! I need to update my reading list! But I don’t know the first thing about what’s hot right now. The best seller list has never been a good guide for me. I hear lots of talk about young adult (YA) fiction, and I have to admit I don’t have a clear grasp of what’s good and what’s not in that genre.
Can you guys stear me in the right direction, both for YA and for other genres?
If I wanted to get a good picture of what constitutes cutting edge publishable fiction right now, what novels should I pick up? What have you read recently that you liked or thought was noteworthy?