Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sydney Salter

Sydney Salter published two books this year: My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters and Jungle Crossing. Her third novel, Swoon At Your Own Risk, is due out in 2010.

Earlier this month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Right now I’m finishing up an absolutely delicious teen novel called The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. I picked it up along with several others during a treasured visit to Powell’s Books last Thanksgiving. I love the voice in this novel—Frankie is just the kind of girl I’ve always wanted to be and that I hope my daughters will become. She’s smart, funny, clever, and not satisfied with the status quo. The story is about her secret infiltration into an Old Boy’s club at her boarding school. I started reading this book during my college reunion last weekend—and I couldn’t help but identify with Frankie’s plight as I watched a bunch of grown up fraternity alumni trek upstairs to their “secret room.” My daughters and I stayed behind looking at old composite photos where I’m listed as a “little sister.” I’m rooting for Frankie!

I’m also dipping into Deborah Tannen’s latest linguistic study about sisters called You Were Always Mom’s Favorite. As a writer, I try to read a lot of psychology and sociology because I think it helps me develop interesting characters. But I have to admit that this one really appeals to me as a sister-less mother of two daughters. I’m hoping it will not only bring nuances to my writing, but peace to my household!

Another book I’m enjoying on behalf of my writing is Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. So much fun! Each page contains crazy instructions such as dripping a sticky substance on the page, cutting through the book, collecting found objects, fruit stickers, and white things; you’re even asked to take the whole thing into the shower (can’t bear to do that one yet). Any writer—or person—struggling with perfectionism will benefit from this book. Mine is now swollen with various acts of destruction. Many of my friends have bought this one after seeing my crazy delight. You should too!

Last but not least, I’m reading a chapter or two of East by Edith Pattou to my fourth grade daughter every night. Neither of us naturally gravitates toward fantasy so I often choose to read this genre aloud. Both of us are enjoying Rose’s epic journey to find the white bear she has unwittingly betrayed. The story is told in several points of view, all gorgeously distinct. I will admit to fumbling with some of the Nordic language terms, but I have yet to stumble over a single sentence. Each one is so beautifully crafted!
Visit Sydney Salter's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue