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The Wednesday Web Browser for Writers

  • If you’re looking for some short stories to read online, you might begin with the StorySouth Million Writers Award list of notable stories for 2010.
  • Ellen Meeropol has a dual perspective on bookstore readings: She has participated as an event organizer and as an author. Which makes her advice especially insightful.
  • This may be old news already for some of you, but here goes: Last Sunday evening I watched 60 Minutes for the first time in awhile. And one of the show’s segments was about author Greg Mortenson, author of the presumably nonfictional Three Cups of Tea: “[L]ast fall, we began investigating complaints from former donors, board members, staffers, and charity watchdogs about Mortenson and the way he is running his non-profit organization. And we found there are serious questions about how millions of dollars have been spent, whether Mortenson is personally benefiting, and whether some of the most dramatic and inspiring stories in his books are even true.”
  • If you haven’t visited the Poetry Foundation’s website for awhile, you should click on over and check out the redesign.
  • I keep reading wonderful reviews of Meghan O’Rourke’s new book, a memoir titled The Long Goodbye (here’s one). And part of me really wants to read it. But part of me is just too afraid to. I’m afraid that it will make me unbearably sad. Have any of you ever felt that way about a book?
  • Our friend Wordamour has a short essay in a new book, Flashlight Memories, which, according to Wordamour’s blog, “is all about people’s early experiences with reading and books, otherwise known in academia as ‘literacy autobiographies’ or ‘literacy narratives.'” To celebrate the book’s publication–and to celebrate all of our personal literacy stories–Wordamour will award a copy of Flashlight Memories to one of the commenters on her blog. You have until May 15 to post your narrative.
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    4 Responses »

    1. Erika,
      read O’Rourke memoirs. It’s a wonderful book, sad, of course, but more than that, it is incredibly well done, written, organized, composed. Every time I started feeling that she linger too long on a topic, a story, a thread, it was changing, she was taking me in a direction I did not expect. The topic is sad, but for me the hardest part of the reading was my own reflection on the situation, i.e. relationships, etc. I’m not sure how to explain, but instead of feeling sorry for her O’Rourke gives us a mirror where she forces us to look at ourselves and ask difficult, and sometimes painful questions. She attains a remarkable balance between tension (interesting to think about when as you already know she gives us “the end” of the story right away), reflection, personal matters and universal one, a voice that is compelling and distinct, and enough of self-distance that we do not pity her, or anybody in the book. We suffer with them, but that’s different.
      In short, it is not by any stretch of the imagination a “light”, “quick” read as some memoirs are, it stays with you, but definitely worth reading…

      • Beatrice, thank you for that very thoughtful reply. I think it’s precisely because of the connections the situation evokes–because I so dread losing my own mother (hopefully, a very very long time from now), especially having absorbed the profound grief she experienced when her mother died, and having seen other dear family and friends through similar losses–that I’m so fearful of this book. But you make a strong case for putting my fears aside, or at least, attempting to conquer them.

    2. Erika, I’m anxious to read O’Rourke’s memoir but feel certain that I’ll need to read it in small doses because of the difficult subject. Beatrice, your remarks confirm that I definitely should read the book–thank you!

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