Recently I asked the author what she was reading. Fiffer's reply:
I am a fast and greedy reader. Often, I don’t let myself start a book I think I’ll like until I know I can afford an all-nighter. In other words, I like to finish what I start—quickly. And since I took this summer off from writing because of teaching and editing commitments, I read and am currently reading a lot. Fast and greedily!Visit Sharon Fiffer's website.
After devouring Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel, I decided that maybe I do like historical fiction after all. It was an absolute thrill to realize I could see that period through the eyes of Cromwell instead of Thomas More. After all, I’ve seen the movie, A Man For All Seasons, at least 8 times and I thought I knew what was what with Cromwell, but Mantel has offered such a different perspective. Pragmatic and modern and I couldn’t put either book down.
I taught middle-schoolers this summer in a 3-week special program for gifted students and loved introducing them (and myself) to Wonder by R. J. Palacio. This is a great first novel that makes teaching point of view to 12-year olds (or adults for that matter) a walk in the park.
Loved Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. A well-deserved hit that makes watching veterans being honored at a pop culture event a deeper and much more complicated experience. A thoughtful book that remains with me.
When Ray Bradbury died and I saw writers posting everywhere about how much he had influenced them, once again I felt readerly guilt that here was another writer I had somehow missed, I went to the library and took out the audio of Dandelion Wine and have been listening every time I get into the car. What a wonderful book to make a reader pay attention to every living, buzzing humming living, breathing moment of summer!
I often help out at an estate sale company in the Chicago area as research for writing my Jane Wheel mysteries. At least I say that’s why I do it. I usually come home with an armload of books from the sales. This past weekend, I carried home Getting Over Getting Older by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, published in 1996; The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, published in 1946; We Took To The Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich, published in 1942; and The Road To Miltown, stories by S. J. Perelman published in the mid 50’s. I’ve already started the Pogrebin since I’m not getting any younger—but re-reading The Egg and I, which may have been the first “adult” book I read when I was a child (and no, I’m not quite that old—it was already starting to seem vintage then) might make some of this aging conundrum easier to take. I still remember it made me laugh out loud—we’ll see how it holds up.
Since I write mysteries and often feel woefully behind in reading in my field, I decided this summer to read a whole series by an author that everyone else had already read—but I had somehow missed. So I am currently in the middle of the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. In fact, I stayed up long into last night finishing Among The Mad, the sixth in the series. I love the character, the time and the place in Winspear’s novels. And I am really enjoying reading them one by one in order. As a series writer myself, watching the arc as the character changes, grows older is especially interesting. There’s that pesky “getting older” theme again. Perhaps the Pogrebin book is going to become a different kind of research entirely!
The Page 69 Test: Scary Stuff.
Writers Read: Sharon Fiffer (January 2011).