Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reading goes on, too!

A couple of writers I've just found and liked a lot.

One is William Deresiewicz, whose A Jane Austen Education is a nonfiction analysis of her novels and how they influenced his own life and maturing. Very appealingly written, very honest about his own shortcomings and how it took him a while to get the point of Austen, in the course of writing his doctoral diss. This is worthwhile reading, I'd say.

I just chanced on it, and usually I throw down any of those pretender books that take on her characters and pretend to write more about them, as some sort of freeze dried fiction or something, but he is different. He's a critic who loves books and knows how to convey it.

The pretender books remind me of people who take other people's photographs and make paintings from them, not realizing that the original person has done the actual art, the design, the decision making, the framing up of viewpoint, given it the reason the imitator wants to copy it in the first place, and all the imitator does is a kind of dull paint by numbers rendition. An artist who tries that quickly gets bored to bits, realizing it was dead on arrival. But an imitator, the oh I just LERV to paint sort of approach, keeps on touching up the corpse, innocently.

And, if you're up for mysteries set in England, which not only have a mystery puzzle going, but deal with issues of morality and responsibility in a readable and, oh, joy, literate, way, read anything, anything by Jill Paton Walsh.

I first came across her in Thrones, Dominations, where she took and completed, if I understand the process correctly, an unfinished novel of Dorothy Sayers. She's a Sayers-like writer herself, and her own novels that don't owe anything to Sayers, are as good as anything Sayers did write.

Her heroes are not the impossibly perfect and wellborn and privileged and urbane Wimsey types, but are flawed and recognizable as actual humans. Very good stuff. My only complaint is that I've quickly read everything I can find of her and I'm impatient for her to get on with it and write more!

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