So Christmas has gone, the hot weather is here, and it’s time to take stock of your literary booty so you can couch potato the holidays away doing all the reading you can. Last summer, I had a Scott Westerfeld holiday. This summer, it’s Terry Pratchett. During the year I read Nation and it’s so clever I thought I better go to Discworld number one (The Colour of Magic) and start there. It’s so funny! I realise now what others have always known: Pratchett is a writing genius. Whenever I discover someone like that (Margo Lanagan is another one), I’m reminded of Stephen King’s great book On Writing. He talks about how you can develop as a writer, how you can move from being a bad writer to a competent one. If you put the time in, you can go from being a compentent writer to a good one. But no one can move from being a good writer to a genius. You are either a genius or not.
For Christmas, I landed Olivier and Parrot in New York by Peter Carey. My favourite Carey’s are The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith and more recently Thief. I read all his books as they come out, like I do Tim Winton. It’s not hard as they don’t produce prolifically! It’s a sort of literay rite of passage to read these authors. Looking forward to Olivier.
I’ve just finished Black Water by David Metzenthen, a writer who I’ve followed ever since his banana days. He’s a terrific writer and has the best adolescent male protagonists – he should be compulsory reading for all boys. And I’m reading Chris O’Brien’s autobiography Never say Die. It’s interesting that he starts with a comment about not knowing whether he’s achieved much as he works and lives only a few blocks from where he grew up.
Also trying to write as well as read so better get back to it. HNY to you.