Saturday, October 18, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Before I talk about my favorite books, I'll touch on last week's topic of first drafts. For me personally, I don't usually do multiple drafts. My first draft is my only draft and I'll explain why. I usually spend four to five hours per day writing and then spend the first few hours of the next morning editing what I wrote the previous day. For whatever the reason, my brain simply can't get going on anything new until the first part is EXACTLY how I want it. As you can very well imagine this process typically takes much longer than just writing out and completing a first draft, but it's the only way I can do things. For me, it's like having a clean house. If the house feels untidy then I feel uncomfortable all day. Straightening things up and tying up loose ends right away, enables me to know exactly where I want the story to go and gives me the ability to tackle the next stage of the story with a clear mind.

On to my favorite books. So for me, like the others girls, I have far too many favorite books to list, so I'll just mention the ones that had a significant impact on me. The first books that really grabbed my attention and made me wonder what it would be like to be a writer, were the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I can still remember my mom taking me to the bookstore every time I finished another book in the series. I loved to pretend that I was Laura. Those books painted such vivid images in my little head that I could almost picture myself walking through the Big Woods to the one room schoolhouse with Laura and Mary. To this day I still proudly display all of my Little House on the Prairie books on my bookshelf, and even better than that is the fact that I now get to share those books with my own children.

When I was twelve-years-old my parents bought me the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I cherish that book. I think I have read that book a dozen or so times and have worn out the pages of my favorite plays and poems. My all time favorite Shakespeare play is Hamlet. I love the story and although it took me a while to get used to the speech, it is a piece of writing I never get tired of reading. Another book that really struck a cord for me, was a book I read when I was 14-years-old. To this day I have no idea what the actual title of the book was and I wish that I could find it again, because it was such a profound book for me at such a young age. The book told the entire Arthurian legend from start to finish. It had beautiful illustrations that complimented the text, and the stories were so exciting and inspiring. I can't tell you how many times I pictured myself as the Lady of the Lake or Queen Guinevere.

Another one of my favorite books was a book called Christy by Catherine Marshall. It tells the story of a young woman who sets out to teach at a backwoods school in the Appalachian village of Cutter Gap, Tennessee, in 1912. I read that book in one day. I started it early one Saturday morning and finished by dinner the same day...I loved it that much! A more recent favorite of mine is a book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Long before I even knew what the book was about I wanted to buy it. The illustrations caught my attention and the fact that the text was printed on black paper also appealed to me. I bought the book and was so happy to find out that not only were the pictures great, but the story was too.

The truth is, there are so many wonderful books out there to read. I could go on and on about all the ones that have meant something to me, but I don't want to bore anyone. So here are a few more of my favorites that you might want to check out. Take care and happy reading!

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Metamorphosis by Ovid
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


Lesley Livingston said...

Ah... a fellow Shakespeare and Arthurian aficionado!

I like your taste!

If you ever remember the name of the King Arthur book - you must let me know!!

Carolyn McTighe said...

I will. I'm heartbroken I can't remember. I love those books!