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Anybody have any ideas?

Posted by Nancy N on 1/31/03 at 21:02 (107547)

OK, here's the situation. I've just taken down several books I have on writing--something I love to do, but haven't done in years. The last time was two years ago, and the product was a ten-minute play. That was fun, but again, it's the last time, and I actually had that one vital ingredient--an idea!!!

If I am going to start a writing project, I need an idea--or several! I am asking here because they say you should always write what you know, and it occurred to me that one thing I know well is PF. Maybe I should have a character with PF! Or maybe not, but it's a thought. I know there are many such characters on this board, but whatever I would come up with (if we are optimistic and assume I will come up with anything!) would be a work of fiction, so I don't want to use a real person as a model.

So--anybody have any ideas? Wild, mild, at this point anything is a place to start, which I don't have right now. The closest thing I have to an idea is my new Magnetic Poetry kit, which I was thinking about using to come up with a few sentences that might be my first line, and see where they lead me. But otherwise.... I'd be interested in seeing what sorts of things might come out of this group, even if they don't lead anywhere particularly literary :)

Thanks!

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

marie e on 1/31/03 at 21:51 (107560)

How about a murder mystery. There could be footprints left at the crime scene...mabie from Birkenstock shoes. Then add a twist to the plot...it wasn't the pf/tts person who wears birkenstocks but mabie the foot doctor who knows how great these shoes are and wears them himself. AHHHA!

marie

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 1/31/03 at 22:48 (107565)

Gosh, Nancy! I don't know. I only write non-fiction and all my ideas have been non-fiction. Hmmm... Fiction always seems to me like it follows a formula. Here's one:

How about a fantasy, about a woman with PF who is sitting in a tub soaking her feet, day dreaming and wishing that she could get out and do things. Then suddenly, she is whisked away, to another (dimension? time? incarnation?)

Anyway, wherever she is whisked, her mobility problems are gone because she has (wings? a Segway? new feet?)

It is wonderful but she finds out that she's sad because (fill in the blanks). After a long quest she goes back and becomes her old self sitting by the window, and works hard at conservative treatment until she finds happiness.

You could entitle it, 'Calgon, take me away!' oops! I am awful! LOLOL

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Suzanne D on 1/31/03 at 23:04 (107569)

Dear Nancy,

You are intelligent and witty. Perhaps you could come up with something along the lines of those self-help books like DOS FOR DUMMIES. Since foot problems are so generally misunderstood, maybe we need a FOOT HELP FOR DUMMIES book! :-)

Good luck on getting an idea. Let us know what you come up with!

Suzanne :-)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

nancy s. on 2/01/03 at 05:28 (107587)

nancy, that play you wrote was most interesting and based on a great, true-to-ordinary-life idea.

maybe you could write from the first-person perspective of someone with bad pf, who has to get used to sudden interruption of work and play and relationships, and use scooters, etc., plus how people react to a person in that situation. it would be a combination tragedy/comedy, of course! we all have a million stories that fall into these categories and could provide you with plenty of raw material to choose from.

nancy

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 10:31 (107698)

Well, you guys had some interesting ideas, but I'm having trouble imagining PF as a major player in a story/novel/whatever. Reading (and writing!) about PT, icing, cortisone injections, and Birkenstocks is only so interesting. Even if we get extravagant and throw ESWT into the mix, there's just got to be more to the story. PF could be a minor player, at best.

Suzanne, I think the PF for Dummies has already been done--it's Scott's PF book. Not a whole lot to add there, and I don't really want to be sued for copyright infringement :)

So.... anybody else have ideas? Frankly, if I'm going to stay with the PF theme, I think the most interesting thing I could write is probably John's life story, since he's been everywhere and met everyone. But that wouldn't be much of a creative challenge (though it might still be worthwhile!).

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 11:12 (107701)

Nancy - - now that you've decided to write, what kind of story do you FEEL like writing, PF or not? A murder mystery, fantasy, romance, science fiction, historical novel, non-fiction, biography, adventure, children's book, or what? Whichever you choose, PF doesn't have to be a major theme, but could just add to the story. You could kind of weave it in as you go.

I like Marie's idea for weaving PF into a murder mystery, and it reminded me of what's going on with our local serial killer here in Louisiana. The main clues available to detectives trying to find the Baton Rouge serial killer, are his DNA and shoeprints from his tennis shoes. Silly man, he bought a pair of Adidas for his latest killing, which threw everyone off because they were looking for someone with another brand of sports shoe (which I've forgotten). I just KNEW he would do that because half the state was looking for men wearing the other type of shoe. I mean, how dumb are these policemen? It's not like the shoes were superglued to his feet.

I am not sure why, but writing fiction has never appealed to me as much as writing non-fiction. I love to write and to express my opinions even if it's not particularly well crafted. When I retire, one of my major plans is to write a whole book about something. I'm not sure what that would be, but if I couldn't get it published then I could 'publish' it on a website and send the URL to my friends and relatives.

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 13:18 (107713)

Well, you see... what I want to write is the burning question. If I use the PF, it would definitely have to be woven into the rest of the plot just for added interest. I may have to come up with some characters and see what happens if I put them together--that may determine where I end up. I'm not sure about the SF or mystery since I don't really have any experience with those :) I know you can't know everything before you start to write, but it does seem to me that if there's going to be any sense of realism at all, at least a decent chunk of subject matter ought to be based on personal experience.

Your serial killer case sounds interesting. Like the DC sniper case, it makes me question how much information should be shared with the public, considering that the at-large criminal is generally a part of 'the public' until an arrest is made. I suppose they could check in-store video cameras to see who bought Adidas shoes recently?

I feel like writing fiction lately because it seems that all I have written recently is non-fiction: emails, posts on HS.com, work-related writing, etc. I used to love to write fiction when I was in high school and college, but just haven't had the time for ages. It's a nice release, though I agree that non-fiction can be fun, too. And then there's poetry... :)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 13:35 (107714)

You know, I wondered about that too. There aren't that many stores in Baton Rouge that sell Adidas. Of course, he might have decided to really confound the issue and drive elsewhere to buy his Adidas. Or, maybe he already had them.

I think your idea of coming up with some characters to see what happens if you put them together, sounds like fun! You can put them in a setting that seems familiar to you, and weave in things you know about like PF. Perhaps one of them could overcome a challenge or difficulty as part of the main theme. PF could add to that difficulty, or instead maybe it could just be a bit of realism on the side.

I knew a published author years ago that told me the hardest part for him was the first sentence. He would write the entire first chapter, and then go back and write the introductory paragraph of that chapter around a first sentence that would GRAB the reader's interest and PULL him into the book. It sounds disrespectful of the reader but if the first step in wanting to read a book is wanting to finish reading the first paragraph.

Then at the end of the book he'd hammer on things that were also emphasized in the first chapter, so that it would go full circle. I want to try to use that method when/if I write my book later on.

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy n on 2/02/03 at 14:32 (107716)

I just spoke to one of my 'kids' in Ireland--she was 10 when I was there as an au pair, and is now 17. It's been a few years since I've had a chance to actually speak to her. She told me she's taken some writing classes, and that she had an assignment where she was given a name, place, occupation, object, and some other random details, and she was to put them together somehow. She said the class got some really amazing things out of the exercise, so she's going to see if she still has her notes and will email them to me. It does sound like a really good way to at least get thinking in the right way.

I can say from experience that the hardest part is starting out. Douglas Adams once said 'Writing is easy--you just stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds.' (there are actually several quotes along this line from different people, so hopefully I have this one right!) The blank page can be terrifying. Once you get going, though, it's much easier.

I can also say that there are some books I have chosen by sheer virtue of their first sentences. Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees is one of them. And I've heard of people filching the first few sentences of a classic novel to use as a starting point, and then going off in very different directions with their own story. So there are options out there.

As for going back to the beginning after you finish, it sounds good to me. My senior English teacher in high school always said that when you finish a book, you should go back to the beginning. If his theory is correct, you either need to be very good at plotting, or you need to go back through after you're finished and add things like foreshadowing. I suppose it doesn't matter which approach you take as long as the job gets done :)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Julie on 2/02/03 at 14:49 (107720)

Nancy, I don't remember the first sentence of the Bean Trees, but I loved it too. Have you read its sequel - whose name I can't remember either, but is equally good? I've enjoyed all Barbara Kingsolver's books.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 16:42 (107730)

Julie--

The sequel to The Bean Trees is called Pigs in Heaven, and I have read it. I've also read Animal Dreams, which is a standalone book. I have The Poisonwood Bible but haven't read it yet. I've loved everything of hers that I've ever read.

And here's the first paragraph of The Bean Trees, just for fun:

'I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up and throw Newt Hardbine's father over the top of the Standard Oil sign. I'm not lying. He got stuck up there. About nineteen people congregated during the time it took for Norman Strickto walk up to the Courthouse and blow the whistle for the volunteer fire department. They eventually did come with the ladder and haul him down, and he wasn't dead but lost his hearing and in many other ways was never the same afterward. They said he overfilled the tire.'

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 17:17 (107742)

I **LOVE** that first sentence!!! Talk about grabbing the reader and PULLING us into the book! lolol That is an outstanding example of what I meant by that. There's no way that someone could read the first sentence, and then put the book down with a yawn...

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 17:24 (107744)

Yup. That was my exact reaction. I usually will read a sentence or two of any book I'm considering--sometimes in the middle of the book, sometimes the first page. I do it because there are some writing styles I just can't stand. I read that one sentence of this book and marched right over to the counter to pay for it. Then I cozied up in my room with it for the rest of the day while I inhaled the whole book. Didn't take me long to move on to her others, either. So if you're looking for a good read, I would recommend checking Barbara Kingsolver out.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

nancy s. on 2/02/03 at 17:51 (107747)

that paragraph is a scream, nancy! (i hope it's meant to be funny....)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

nancy s. on 2/02/03 at 17:57 (107748)

now i read it again and maybe it isn't supposed to be funny. maybe it's the matter-of-fact tone of the character/writer that's funny. whichever it is, it's striking me as funny and i'm enjoying myself.
thanks,

nancy
.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 18:00 (107749)

I think it's partly supposed to be funny, and partly matter-of-fact. The first sentence is certainly amusing, despite the injury that must have been involved. I think what makes it funny is the immediate 'I'm not lying.'

At any rate, I loved the first sentence, and I loved the book. Great stuff. I'd love to be able to write something like that.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 18:32 (107754)

I haven't read the book but the part that really cracks me up is the last sentence, 'They say he overfilled the tire.'

Totally deadpan. Overfilled the tire? You don't suppose? ROFL!!

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

pala on 2/02/03 at 19:10 (107758)

the poisonwood bible is wonderful . it dit not grab me easily at first like her other stuff but i think absolutely the fulfillment of her talent. i lilked her other books but this one was truly great.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 20:11 (107767)

I have to confess that I've had a copy of the Poisonwood Bible for years but the whole Congo setting has yet to grab me. I think it might take me a while to get into it, too, but I do intend to give it a shot someday. I think she's a phenomenally talented writer.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Julie on 2/03/03 at 04:00 (107786)

Nancy

It's all coming back to me now. That IS an unbeatable first paragraph. And yes, Pigs in heaven. I didn't know The Bean Trees had a sequel until I stumbled on PIH in the library and was thrilled.

I'm getting a distinct sense of deja vu. Haven't we had this discussion before? I clearly remember urging you to read The Poisonwood Bible (I agree it's her best, Paula) about a year ago....

Once you get into it, I think you'll like it.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/03/03 at 05:44 (107791)

Yes, I think we did have the Barbara Kingsolver discussion before--I think it was about two years ago when I was reading Pride and Prejudice. Well, maybe not quite two years ago. I do want to read the book, I just keep forgetting that I have it. I don't read a whole lot of fiction anymore, so it takes some extra effort for me to remember that I have it, and actually read it. I've been saying for years that I should read more fiction, but I have trouble anymore finding any that interests me. Maybe I'm just not trying hard enough--and I'm certainly forgetting about this particular book. Hmm--maybe I don't want to run out of 'new' Barbara Kingsolver novels? It's a possibility!

I may make some extra time to read over Spring Break (middle of next month) since I may not have much else to do for those two weeks, so I will put it on my list. Have you read her other newer books? I think the novel is called Prodigal Summer? I know one of them is a nonfiction book. I also have her book of essays called High Tide in Tuscon, which I haven't fully read, but the essays I've looked at have been good.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Julie on 2/03/03 at 06:47 (107794)

Nancy

Yes, I've read Prodigal Summer, but I liked it less than her others. I admired what she was trying to do (which was write the ecological novel she has always wanted to write) but found it a bit stilted and arbitrary in places, and the characters never came alive for me.

Unlike Poisonwood Bible... :) which really is wonderful.

But I still liked it - just liked it less than the others.

I liked the essays, too, in High Tide in Tucson.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

marie e on 1/31/03 at 21:51 (107560)

How about a murder mystery. There could be footprints left at the crime scene...mabie from Birkenstock shoes. Then add a twist to the plot...it wasn't the pf/tts person who wears birkenstocks but mabie the foot doctor who knows how great these shoes are and wears them himself. AHHHA!

marie

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 1/31/03 at 22:48 (107565)

Gosh, Nancy! I don't know. I only write non-fiction and all my ideas have been non-fiction. Hmmm... Fiction always seems to me like it follows a formula. Here's one:

How about a fantasy, about a woman with PF who is sitting in a tub soaking her feet, day dreaming and wishing that she could get out and do things. Then suddenly, she is whisked away, to another (dimension? time? incarnation?)

Anyway, wherever she is whisked, her mobility problems are gone because she has (wings? a Segway? new feet?)

It is wonderful but she finds out that she's sad because (fill in the blanks). After a long quest she goes back and becomes her old self sitting by the window, and works hard at conservative treatment until she finds happiness.

You could entitle it, 'Calgon, take me away!' oops! I am awful! LOLOL

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Suzanne D on 1/31/03 at 23:04 (107569)

Dear Nancy,

You are intelligent and witty. Perhaps you could come up with something along the lines of those self-help books like DOS FOR DUMMIES. Since foot problems are so generally misunderstood, maybe we need a FOOT HELP FOR DUMMIES book! :-)

Good luck on getting an idea. Let us know what you come up with!

Suzanne :-)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

nancy s. on 2/01/03 at 05:28 (107587)

nancy, that play you wrote was most interesting and based on a great, true-to-ordinary-life idea.

maybe you could write from the first-person perspective of someone with bad pf, who has to get used to sudden interruption of work and play and relationships, and use scooters, etc., plus how people react to a person in that situation. it would be a combination tragedy/comedy, of course! we all have a million stories that fall into these categories and could provide you with plenty of raw material to choose from.

nancy

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 10:31 (107698)

Well, you guys had some interesting ideas, but I'm having trouble imagining PF as a major player in a story/novel/whatever. Reading (and writing!) about PT, icing, cortisone injections, and Birkenstocks is only so interesting. Even if we get extravagant and throw ESWT into the mix, there's just got to be more to the story. PF could be a minor player, at best.

Suzanne, I think the PF for Dummies has already been done--it's Scott's PF book. Not a whole lot to add there, and I don't really want to be sued for copyright infringement :)

So.... anybody else have ideas? Frankly, if I'm going to stay with the PF theme, I think the most interesting thing I could write is probably John's life story, since he's been everywhere and met everyone. But that wouldn't be much of a creative challenge (though it might still be worthwhile!).

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 11:12 (107701)

Nancy - - now that you've decided to write, what kind of story do you FEEL like writing, PF or not? A murder mystery, fantasy, romance, science fiction, historical novel, non-fiction, biography, adventure, children's book, or what? Whichever you choose, PF doesn't have to be a major theme, but could just add to the story. You could kind of weave it in as you go.

I like Marie's idea for weaving PF into a murder mystery, and it reminded me of what's going on with our local serial killer here in Louisiana. The main clues available to detectives trying to find the Baton Rouge serial killer, are his DNA and shoeprints from his tennis shoes. Silly man, he bought a pair of Adidas for his latest killing, which threw everyone off because they were looking for someone with another brand of sports shoe (which I've forgotten). I just KNEW he would do that because half the state was looking for men wearing the other type of shoe. I mean, how dumb are these policemen? It's not like the shoes were superglued to his feet.

I am not sure why, but writing fiction has never appealed to me as much as writing non-fiction. I love to write and to express my opinions even if it's not particularly well crafted. When I retire, one of my major plans is to write a whole book about something. I'm not sure what that would be, but if I couldn't get it published then I could 'publish' it on a website and send the URL to my friends and relatives.

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 13:18 (107713)

Well, you see... what I want to write is the burning question. If I use the PF, it would definitely have to be woven into the rest of the plot just for added interest. I may have to come up with some characters and see what happens if I put them together--that may determine where I end up. I'm not sure about the SF or mystery since I don't really have any experience with those :) I know you can't know everything before you start to write, but it does seem to me that if there's going to be any sense of realism at all, at least a decent chunk of subject matter ought to be based on personal experience.

Your serial killer case sounds interesting. Like the DC sniper case, it makes me question how much information should be shared with the public, considering that the at-large criminal is generally a part of 'the public' until an arrest is made. I suppose they could check in-store video cameras to see who bought Adidas shoes recently?

I feel like writing fiction lately because it seems that all I have written recently is non-fiction: emails, posts on HS.com, work-related writing, etc. I used to love to write fiction when I was in high school and college, but just haven't had the time for ages. It's a nice release, though I agree that non-fiction can be fun, too. And then there's poetry... :)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 13:35 (107714)

You know, I wondered about that too. There aren't that many stores in Baton Rouge that sell Adidas. Of course, he might have decided to really confound the issue and drive elsewhere to buy his Adidas. Or, maybe he already had them.

I think your idea of coming up with some characters to see what happens if you put them together, sounds like fun! You can put them in a setting that seems familiar to you, and weave in things you know about like PF. Perhaps one of them could overcome a challenge or difficulty as part of the main theme. PF could add to that difficulty, or instead maybe it could just be a bit of realism on the side.

I knew a published author years ago that told me the hardest part for him was the first sentence. He would write the entire first chapter, and then go back and write the introductory paragraph of that chapter around a first sentence that would GRAB the reader's interest and PULL him into the book. It sounds disrespectful of the reader but if the first step in wanting to read a book is wanting to finish reading the first paragraph.

Then at the end of the book he'd hammer on things that were also emphasized in the first chapter, so that it would go full circle. I want to try to use that method when/if I write my book later on.

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy n on 2/02/03 at 14:32 (107716)

I just spoke to one of my 'kids' in Ireland--she was 10 when I was there as an au pair, and is now 17. It's been a few years since I've had a chance to actually speak to her. She told me she's taken some writing classes, and that she had an assignment where she was given a name, place, occupation, object, and some other random details, and she was to put them together somehow. She said the class got some really amazing things out of the exercise, so she's going to see if she still has her notes and will email them to me. It does sound like a really good way to at least get thinking in the right way.

I can say from experience that the hardest part is starting out. Douglas Adams once said 'Writing is easy--you just stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds.' (there are actually several quotes along this line from different people, so hopefully I have this one right!) The blank page can be terrifying. Once you get going, though, it's much easier.

I can also say that there are some books I have chosen by sheer virtue of their first sentences. Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees is one of them. And I've heard of people filching the first few sentences of a classic novel to use as a starting point, and then going off in very different directions with their own story. So there are options out there.

As for going back to the beginning after you finish, it sounds good to me. My senior English teacher in high school always said that when you finish a book, you should go back to the beginning. If his theory is correct, you either need to be very good at plotting, or you need to go back through after you're finished and add things like foreshadowing. I suppose it doesn't matter which approach you take as long as the job gets done :)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Julie on 2/02/03 at 14:49 (107720)

Nancy, I don't remember the first sentence of the Bean Trees, but I loved it too. Have you read its sequel - whose name I can't remember either, but is equally good? I've enjoyed all Barbara Kingsolver's books.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 16:42 (107730)

Julie--

The sequel to The Bean Trees is called Pigs in Heaven, and I have read it. I've also read Animal Dreams, which is a standalone book. I have The Poisonwood Bible but haven't read it yet. I've loved everything of hers that I've ever read.

And here's the first paragraph of The Bean Trees, just for fun:

'I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up and throw Newt Hardbine's father over the top of the Standard Oil sign. I'm not lying. He got stuck up there. About nineteen people congregated during the time it took for Norman Strickto walk up to the Courthouse and blow the whistle for the volunteer fire department. They eventually did come with the ladder and haul him down, and he wasn't dead but lost his hearing and in many other ways was never the same afterward. They said he overfilled the tire.'

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 17:17 (107742)

I **LOVE** that first sentence!!! Talk about grabbing the reader and PULLING us into the book! lolol That is an outstanding example of what I meant by that. There's no way that someone could read the first sentence, and then put the book down with a yawn...

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 17:24 (107744)

Yup. That was my exact reaction. I usually will read a sentence or two of any book I'm considering--sometimes in the middle of the book, sometimes the first page. I do it because there are some writing styles I just can't stand. I read that one sentence of this book and marched right over to the counter to pay for it. Then I cozied up in my room with it for the rest of the day while I inhaled the whole book. Didn't take me long to move on to her others, either. So if you're looking for a good read, I would recommend checking Barbara Kingsolver out.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

nancy s. on 2/02/03 at 17:51 (107747)

that paragraph is a scream, nancy! (i hope it's meant to be funny....)

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

nancy s. on 2/02/03 at 17:57 (107748)

now i read it again and maybe it isn't supposed to be funny. maybe it's the matter-of-fact tone of the character/writer that's funny. whichever it is, it's striking me as funny and i'm enjoying myself.
thanks,

nancy
.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 18:00 (107749)

I think it's partly supposed to be funny, and partly matter-of-fact. The first sentence is certainly amusing, despite the injury that must have been involved. I think what makes it funny is the immediate 'I'm not lying.'

At any rate, I loved the first sentence, and I loved the book. Great stuff. I'd love to be able to write something like that.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Carole C in NOLA on 2/02/03 at 18:32 (107754)

I haven't read the book but the part that really cracks me up is the last sentence, 'They say he overfilled the tire.'

Totally deadpan. Overfilled the tire? You don't suppose? ROFL!!

Carole C

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

pala on 2/02/03 at 19:10 (107758)

the poisonwood bible is wonderful . it dit not grab me easily at first like her other stuff but i think absolutely the fulfillment of her talent. i lilked her other books but this one was truly great.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/02/03 at 20:11 (107767)

I have to confess that I've had a copy of the Poisonwood Bible for years but the whole Congo setting has yet to grab me. I think it might take me a while to get into it, too, but I do intend to give it a shot someday. I think she's a phenomenally talented writer.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Julie on 2/03/03 at 04:00 (107786)

Nancy

It's all coming back to me now. That IS an unbeatable first paragraph. And yes, Pigs in heaven. I didn't know The Bean Trees had a sequel until I stumbled on PIH in the library and was thrilled.

I'm getting a distinct sense of deja vu. Haven't we had this discussion before? I clearly remember urging you to read The Poisonwood Bible (I agree it's her best, Paula) about a year ago....

Once you get into it, I think you'll like it.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Nancy N on 2/03/03 at 05:44 (107791)

Yes, I think we did have the Barbara Kingsolver discussion before--I think it was about two years ago when I was reading Pride and Prejudice. Well, maybe not quite two years ago. I do want to read the book, I just keep forgetting that I have it. I don't read a whole lot of fiction anymore, so it takes some extra effort for me to remember that I have it, and actually read it. I've been saying for years that I should read more fiction, but I have trouble anymore finding any that interests me. Maybe I'm just not trying hard enough--and I'm certainly forgetting about this particular book. Hmm--maybe I don't want to run out of 'new' Barbara Kingsolver novels? It's a possibility!

I may make some extra time to read over Spring Break (middle of next month) since I may not have much else to do for those two weeks, so I will put it on my list. Have you read her other newer books? I think the novel is called Prodigal Summer? I know one of them is a nonfiction book. I also have her book of essays called High Tide in Tuscon, which I haven't fully read, but the essays I've looked at have been good.

Re: Anybody have any ideas?

Julie on 2/03/03 at 06:47 (107794)

Nancy

Yes, I've read Prodigal Summer, but I liked it less than her others. I admired what she was trying to do (which was write the ecological novel she has always wanted to write) but found it a bit stilted and arbitrary in places, and the characters never came alive for me.

Unlike Poisonwood Bible... :) which really is wonderful.

But I still liked it - just liked it less than the others.

I liked the essays, too, in High Tide in Tucson.