Bedtime Stories: March 2017
- March 24, 2017
What do book lovers have queued up on their nightstands and ready to read before lights-out? We asked one of them, and here’s what she said.
Spring always gets me wound up. It may be the allergy nasal spray talking, but I flit from book to book like a bee on a bender. I read mostly fiction as an agent, so like to stretch a bit in the other direction by concentrating on nonfiction in my off-hours (like publishing has off-hours).
This month, I’m prepping for writing my second screenplay and so am rereading Save the Cat by Blake Snyder and Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field. Both offer breakdowns of why a script works and how the writer can go deeper into the story in such a limited space. I find them both valuable for novel writing, as well — by changing the perspective of the writer via a different format (novel vs. script), you’re offered a new slant into the characters’ choices, and by living visually in a script, you can see where your characters stumble and forge ahead anyway.
To add to my research, I’m reading The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World by David Jaher; Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science and the Occult from Antiquity Through the New Age by Anthony Aveni; and Ghosts: A Natural History: 500 Years of Searching for Proof by Roger Clarke.
No, I’m not writing a Western. Behind the Crystal Ball is a nod to my obsession with late-19th-century hucksters and humbugs who took advantage of the nation’s fascination with Spiritualism and created a cottage industry conducting séances. The Witch of Lime Street is a fantastic book describing Houdini’s biggest challenge — a society wife who bamboozled the scientific community bent on proving her a fraud.
For comedy, I’m reading two of my favorite memoirists: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. They’re constant bedside-table occupants. (I never thought anyone could be as weird as me. I was wrong.)
I do like to have at least one fiction book on the table, and right now it’s the indie YA title The Slope Rules by Melanie Hooyenga. She describes it as “Grease” meets “Mean Girls,” and it’s fabulous! I’m giving Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians the eye, too, and have Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke warming the cockles of my Kindle, but those will need to wait until May — if I can make it that long.