I'm reading Ann Patchett's collection of essays This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and I'm going slowly because I don't want it to end. I'm also discussing it in my UCLA Writer's Studio workshop next week so I'm underlining and marking pages like crazy. Her essay "The Getaway Car" is one of the best pieces, and most true, I've ever read about writing and becoming a writer. What shines through all the essays is her generosity, as a person and as a writer. And her work ethic. Read it and get inspired.
You can order the e-book version of "The Getaway Car" for just $2.99 on Amazon. (The best bargain you'll ever hear of.) But trust me, the whole collection is worth buying. And if you haven't read her novel Bel Canto, do so immediately.
I'm also reading Mark Salzman's novel, Lying Awake for the second time. (This book is the reason I became his devoted fan.) It's about a nun living in a monastery in present-day Los Angeles who has visions that allow her to write with great devotion and success, but her visions are accompanied by devastating headaches and she ultimately faces a terrible choice. Read this novel, not only as a riveting and compelling read, but also to study how simple beautiful prose can be. Those of you coming to the Writers Studio next week will meet and hear Mark in person. (The class is full but usually someone has to drop out so if you're interested get on the waiting list. It's worth it just to hear Mark in person!)
I finally finished The Goldfinch. Almost 800 pages of it. I was less in love with the book when it turned into a thriller three quarters of the way through, but still very glad to have read it and in awe of Donna Tartt.