Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Inklings & 600 Hours of Edward

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More Gift Book Suggestions


I recently read two books that would make great gifts for the upcoming holidays, especially for writers.

One is a memoir by nationally syndicated political cartoonist, Jeffrey Koterba, titled Inklings. This is a funny, poignant, and interesting look at Koterba’s life journey that was anything but smooth and easy. In it he writes freely about his dysfunctional family, led by an alcoholic father who also had Tourette’s syndrome, but the writing is not filled with angst and anger. It is almost a celebration of the craziness that played a big part in shaping the artist Jeffrey was to become, and he shares that artistry with wonderful sketches sprinkled throughout the book. (full review HERE )

The second book, 600 Hours of Edward, is a novel by Craig Lancaster, and I read this one right after finishing Inklings. This book is about Edward Stanton, a 39 year old man who has a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder along with Asperger's syndrome. The title comes from the 25 days, or 600 hours, that chronicles the undoing of the life Edward was comfortable with and opening up a new world of possibilities. Change is not something that is easy for a man with OCD and Asperger’s to deal with, and Edward’s journey is equally funny, poignant, and interesting.

One of the things that struck me about these books was that Inklings read so much like a novel and 600 Hours of Edward could have been a memoir. The writing in each is compelling, honest, real, and reflects the characters so completely the reader feels like they are real people. Of course, Jeffrey Koterba is, and Edward Stanton isn’t, but he could be.

I suggest these books for writers as they are great examples of how non-fiction can be written with the same drama and immediacy as fiction. But also because they are wonderful examples of how to write about sensitive issues like mental illness, alcoholism, and neurological problems with a frankness that doesn’t offend, yet is very enlightening.

Plus, they are darn good reads.

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Posted by Maryann Miller who loves to give and receive books for gifts. Check out her Web site for a special offer on her book, One Small Victory.






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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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