I came across an interesting article in The New Yorker, issue June 14 &21, 2010, In the Stacks - Marginal by Ian Frazier.
The writer visited the NYC Public Library where librarian Anne Garner had laid out a collection of books belonging to famous writers who habitually wrote notes in the margins of the book they read.
For example, Jack Kerouac’s copy of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau (a copy he borrowed from a library in 1949 and never returned it), he underlined this sentence - “The traveler must be born again of the road.” on page 227 and put a check mark next to it. One would have to imagine this led to his famous novel On the Road ( which I didn’t enjoy - all I remember is the characters talking about doing great things but just sitting around smoking pot)
My favorite though was Mark Twain's comment at the end of a chapter of the book, The Heavenly Twins by Sarah Grand, he wrote: “A cat could do better literature than this.”
This article got me thinking that I really should be doing the same thing. Read with the intent of learning what works and what doesn’t - but it seems like work - but if I want to improve my craft…
Another article is the same issue, the weekly column The Critics, Laura Miller reviews the boom of dystopian fiction for young readers. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins being the most visible of the current trends. (dying to read it). At the LIRWA Luncheon one of the agents was looking for YA Dystopian fiction and according to the article we will soon be inundated by a rush of these novels hitting the book shelves.
The article mentioned some novels form decades past. She mentioned on of my favorites, John Christopher’s, The White Mountains. I still remember sliding the book off the library shelf (great I can remember something that happened forty years ago but not 5 minutes ago). I also LOVED, but was not mentioned, is Anthem by Ayn Rand. To this day it’s in my top ten. Hmmmm, did I ever do a blog post on my top ten????? Maybe, next time.