Snippets from books

I’ve discovered a new author and had to read Wingshooters nonstop.  Lisa See writes that Nina Reyoyr is one of her favorite writers; she is now one of my favorite writers.

From the book:

Other than me, Billy was the most unpopular child at school.  he had dirty-blond hair that was jaggedly cut, with a ponytail half a foot long.  His face and clothes were often streaked with dirt, and his shoelaces were always knotted and clumped, where they had broken and been tied back together.  His fingernails were always dirty, and his nose often ran; I’d seen teachers recoil physically when they had to touch him.  Billy had several equally dirty brothers and sisters whom I sometimes saw in town–at the ice cream parlor, or the movies, or in the grocery store, anywhere businesses were giving something away for free.  his mother was a small, silent woman who came to the market to buy groceries with food stamps.  His father was tall and skinny, with tied-back hair as long as Billy’s; I sometimes saw him picking through garbage cans on the outskirts of town, and we’d both turn our heads away, embarrassed.  Billy was not the only child at school from the country trailers–once a week a group of them were marched into the gym for a bath–but because he butted heads with the kids from town, he was the one who drew the most attention.  I’d never particularly liked him myself–he was one of those children whose own self-pity provokes as much as irritation as sympathy–but right then I wanted to say, just slip to the left.  Turn the corner and you’ll be safe.

In her own words:

“I consider myself a writer who absolutely believes in strong, complex characters and compelling plots. For me, that’s sometimes meant building a book around a mystery structure, and sometimes not. But the concern with story and character is always there. Margaret Atwood once wrote a wonderful piece for Best American Short Stories about what she looks for as a reader, and it basically boils down to wanting a good story that is urgently told. Sometimes people try to create an artificial division between writing that’s concerned with language or technique vs. writing that is “about” a particular issue. But the books I like most are concerned with all of these things. They’re beautifully written and technically interesting, but they are also about something larger then themselves. They’re stories that hold my attention, that need to be told.”

Source:  The Elegant Variation, a Literary Weblog

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