"While we are reading, we are all Don Quixote." ~ Mason Cooley

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In Search of Good Writing

"Good writing is clear thinking made visible."
~ Anonymous

Over the years, I've been enamored with writers who create believable characters, or those who use unusual descriptive behavior, or who develop intriguing plot lines, reading mainly fiction or occasionally non-fiction that could be helpful to my business (or an immediate personal crisis).

These past few years, with the time that retirement affords and the support of participation in a book club with members of diverse interests, I've become a much more eclectic reader who is learning to appreciate, above all, quality writing.  Writing that helps me clarify my own thinking, or writing so crisp as to expand or challenge the way I currently think.  

Now, I'm reading essays, short stories, memoirs, historical narrative, science, and, what may surprise some of my friends, searching the net for commentaries, book reviews, etc.  

This month, I'd like to recommend two diverse examples of good reading I've been fortunate to discover.

The first is a book of essays by poet and essayist, (and funeral director!) Thomas Lynch, BODIES IN MOTION AND AT REST.   As reviewed in the New York Times in 2000, "The essays in ''Bodies in Motion and at Rest'' are a thought-provoking, engaging hybrid of memoir, meditation and comic monologue.  Whether writing about his Roman Catholic boyhood, fatherhood, the family legacy of alcoholism, the funeral trade or the integral relationship in his life between the ''mortuary and literary arts,'' Lynch approaches his subjects with a beautifully executed balance of irreverence with reverence, gallows humor with emotional delicacy and no-nonsense immanence with lyrical transcendence."

I parceled out the essays, as I do a box of Godiva chocolates, savoring each, wanting the pleasure to last as long as possible.  This is a book I will read again.

The second example is brainpickings, a site originally recommended by one of the aforementioned book club members.  Its weekly newsletter,  accessed at https://www.brainpickings.org, introduces the reader to a variety of topics containing references and links to related books and articles.  It is consistently well-written and beautifully illustrated.   Be warned, you will be reading all week if, like me, you can't resist clicking on the additional links.  Check it out.