Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rereading for Pleasure and Writing

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

Here in Rhode Island we’ve kicked off summer with a sweltering heat wave.  It’s not just hot, it’s humid, very humid—the kind of humidity that curls your hair in an instant and leaves your crisp, dry towels smelling dank if so much as a few droplets of moisture come in contact with them.

I enjoy the summer months, don’t get me wrong, but when we encounter heat waves that seem to linger it definitely changes my mindset and desires to stay on track with certain projects that I’ve been working on easily during other times of the year.  The good news, however, is that the change in temperature does allow for a little more down time in my life and rather than squander that by complaining about “the weather” instead, I love these heat spells for staying cool and re- reading some of my favorite books.

Rereads are not only emotionally satisfying to me they also fire up my creativity for when I am ready to write hard again.  I’m currently rereading two of my favorite novels that I think just sing summer is here.

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova   Love Anthony follows Olivia Donatelli, a former book editor and mother, whose son Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. When Olivia was finally coming to terms with daily life involving a son with autism, Anthony dies. Afterwards, a grieving Olivia separates from her husband and moves to their summer cottage in Nantucket, hoping to remove herself from her old life and make sense of Anthony’s death. Inspired by her surroundings, she starts a photography business for extra money and begins to read over the journals she kept while Anthony was growing up.

Also living in Nantucket is Beth Ellis, Olivia’s neighbor who recently found out that her husband has been having an affair. As a way to cope, a devastated Beth begins to write a novel. Eventually, the two women meet when Beth hires Olivia to take family portraits of her and her daughters at the beach. In passing, Beth mentions that she’s writing a book, and Olivia offers to help her edit it.
Eventually, Beth finishes her book – a story about a boy with autism named Anthony. Despite Olivia’s initial disbelief, it helps her begin to accept Anthony’s death. Similarly, after writing the book, Beth begins to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity and starts thinking of ways to save her marriage. The story ends with Olivia leaving Nantucket, with the intention of going back to work and getting Beth’s manuscript published.

Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Darcy Van Aiken is doing just fine, thank you. She's an ICU nurse with an amicable divorce from her ex-husband, Mike, two great kids, and a prescription for Ritalin. Then her older son, Jeremy, gets engaged to Cami Zander-Brown---daughter of a wealthy New York family---and her world gets turned upside down. The source of her trouble, much to Darcy's surprise, is not in the form of Rose Zander-Brown, Cami's elegant and accomplished mother. Nor is it in the form of Guy Zander-Brown, Cami's charismatic and wildly successful literary agent father. Instead, lurking in the shadows of Mike's new life is the beautifully dressed Claudia, a self-described managed perfectionist.
The Zander-Browns have money, lots of money! The plans for their daughter's dream wedding grow more fabulous by the day, and loving every minute is Claudia. With her perfect taste, Claudia can't help thinking she would make a much better mother of the groom than Darcy. This wedding is her chance to entrench herself in Mike's life---and take credit for the two sons Darcy has worked so hard to raise right.
It's a battle of will and wits. What Darcy learns about herself---and about family and friendship---makes for a delicious, hilarious, touching summer read.

Do you enjoy rereading certain novels?  What are some of your favorites?

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