Aug 27, 2010

August Book Swap

After the crepes came... the books:

The Belgian writer and doctor Alain Brichau brought Narrative Design by Madison Smartt Bell. Alain attended a workshop by Smartt Bell 11 years ago and says the book has "great ideas on the process of writing" and channeling what Smartt Bell calls "the creative black box."

Alain's second choice Le Chant de L'etre et du paraitre, by the Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom, is a novel about a "writer trying to write a new novel" and the "dialogue this writer has with another more cynical, successful writer" who tries to dissuade him from doing so.

Johanna Gohmann was up next. Jo, who is here on a barter fellowship, donated the memoir Are You Somebody? by Nuala O'Faolain because it gives a "sense of where I am now" (Jo is an American living in Ireland) and the fact that she is working on a collection of essays.

Jo also donated a collection of essays in which one of her essays, "The Vagina Dialogues," is included: Best Sex Writing, 2010.

Charles (left) and Lupin Pooter at from Chapter VI of The Diary of a Nobody.
The English writer and actor John Finnemore talked to us about Michael Frayn's "amazing play" Copenhagen and the book he donated Frayn's writings on theatre from 1970 to 2008: Stage Directions.

John's other book was The Diary of A Nobody, a novel set very near the part of London John lives in, about a character who is a "misrepresentation" of who he really is. It is a classic English comic novel written by George Grossmith and his brother Weedon Grossmith with illustrations by Weedon. It first appeared in the magazine Punch in 1888 to 89, and was first printed in book form in 1892.

Our University of Wisconsin Fellow, Sarah Johnson then told us about Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty. Sarah said the novel she's writing is along the same lines as Hollinghurst's book and Brideshead Revisited in the sense that it is the story "of an outsider who gets involved with a family."

Sarah also donated A Gate at the Stairs by Lorie Moore who taught her at Madison, the story of "a mid-western girl who becomes a nanny" in what Sarah called an Edith Whartonesque way "because of the way it draws a socio-political picture with such a gentle hand."

Thanks again for all the books!

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