December 2nd, 2008

ariel dreamy

2008 Books 41 & 42

41: Deep Writing: 7 Principles That Bring Ideas to Life, by Eric Maisel

Genre of book: Non-fiction, Writing
Grade: C

Deep writing, according to the author, means "writing passionately and well about those things that really matter to you." That sounded great to me, but Maisel chose to demonstrate his seven principles for achieving it by making up five fictional authors and writing about how they reacted to his exercises. That didn't work for me at all. I'd rather have seen real people's reactions, or no reactions. The exercises were fine, but I've gotten more out of other books on creativity by Maisel.

42: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon

Genre of book: Fiction
Grade: Pulitzer Prize-winning A+++!

I'm not certain that my vocabulary is equipped with enough superlatives for this one. It's a good thing that I'm not even pretending to write reviews anymore, because I can't convey an overview of what this novel is about; it's too huge, and I don't want my tiny piece of description to make the story sound small. You can expect magic, escapes, comics, art, love, hate, complexity, and mountains more from this book.

Michael Chabon could kill with his prose, so we must all be thankful that he uses his powers for good, not evil. The characters in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay are so detailed and developed that I expect sometime soon I'll find myself wondering what they're doing now, until I realize a few minutes later that they only live in the book. I could gush on and on about the intricacy and the surprises, the hilarious parts and the sad ones, and the welcoming nature of the story. This is what literature is supposed to be, as far as I'm concerned. I can't make you read it, but I hope you will.