As I continually try to expand my horizons with the books I am reading (not an easy task since I am a notoriously slow reader), I find that different authors offer the reader different things. For example, I am now reading Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom”. Talk about a slow read. I am in utter awe of his writing style but find myself reading and rereading almost every sentence; not to mention looking up every other word. But talk about a great writer. Wow!
I recently a memoir called “The Glass Castle” which was an amazing book, a superfast read, an totally engrossing and fascinating story and one that I read over two days. I couldn’t put it down. I have also been reading some of the books my teenage boys are reading for school as well as some classics that I read back in high school (“The Great Gatsby” and “The Sun Also Rises”, “Tom Sawyer” to name a couple of recent ones). I’ve tried Stephen King (horror), Stephanie Meyers (fantasy), Jonathan Tropper (comedy), John Updike (suburban dysfunction) and everything in between.
What I learned is that there is no formula, no sure-footed technique, no instruction manuel for why a book works or doesn’t. It’s not the language or the vocabulary, it’s not necessarily about whether a book is fiction or non-fiction, character driven or all about the plot line. There are simply those books, the good ones, that pull you in, hold onto to your imagination and don’t let you go. The only common denominator that I’ve found is that the author is passionate about his work. I know I am. I write from my experiences, I write about what interests me, I write from the heart and I put it out there and hope the reader enjoys my efforts.
I am about half way through my next book –“This Side of the Street” — and it has been by far my most pleasurable writing experience. The book, the story is pouring out of me. My fingers typing on the keyboard are struggling daily to keep up with my brain. I can’t wait to get the first draft done and tucked away so that I can revisit it a month or so later and enjoy it again as a fresh read before embarking on the tedious task of editing and revising. Until then, I’m enjoying the ride.
Ofer Aronskind is the author of multiple children’s adventure books and a proud father of 3 teenage boys