Wang’s genius partly comes from her ability to write about her illness with seemingly perfect clarity, as the sufferer and the scientist. The book is a testament to her brain—a brain working so well that it can so effectively describe the torment it causes her. Especially since, as Wang reminds us, schizophrenia is a disease of “loosening of associations,” in which the mind is working so hard within the person—against the person—to rid itself of itself.
Each included author has something important to say and Mendenhall has a talent for finding just the right way to allow the authors to express themselves. Mendenhall has a knack at getting to what is significant, and revealing truths both about the writers and about their books. Nor do the interviews shy away from topical issues or cultural conflicts.
The author’s “personal take” is entirely approachable. Her style is conversational, colloquial, and elegant in the sense that the writing is easily understandable because the ideas and suggestions are stated clearly, logically, concisely with good sense and no clutter.
The one topic that all our storytellers weigh in on is the concept of home. What does “home” mean to them? About half the writers say that America is now their home; the other half claims the land of their birth. It is always the last segment of the teller’s tale, a summing up, and the logic each writer uses to make their decision is always compelling.
There is so much about the human condition that is illuminated here in these beautifully written pieces. Wright takes the painful, the personal and the often unbearable frailty of life, and expands it so that the work becomes a celebration of being alive, of human resilience and of the beauty of the everyday.
Jeff Herman’s iconic Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents is a well-respected industry standard, much like Writers Market. Now in its 28th Edition, the Guide enjoys continued acclaim and popularity—and there is a good reason for this. Flatly stated, it’s just the one of the best, if not the best, of many (many!) writers’ guides out there.
Huets has done an immense amount of research to show America’s bard in his own time. Photographs, nineteenth century American landscape paintings, handwritten excerpts from Whitman’s notebooks, quotations from his poetry and from his contemporaries’ writing make the book reader-friendly.
The book is easy to follow, and is well-structured, moving smoothly from novel ideation through planning, character development, point of view, dialogue, plotting, conflict, dealing with tie, pace, setting and genre. Though the book is practically oriented, Skinner doesn’t dumb down the complexity of novel writing, or suggest, as many how-to books do, that it can be done quickly and painlessly.
There’s a definite sense that Miranda really wants to make everyone feel a little bit better about themselves, and though this book won’t be for everyone, it will appeal to young people in need of a hug. Each affirmation in fact feels a bit like a hug.
America: the Farewell Tour is an impressive book. Readers who lack a background in economics but are troubled with what is going on in the world will be absorbed in his analysis. Hedges is no academic pronouncing from an ivory tower, but a reporter who has gone out among the victims of global capitalism to gather information.