Tag Archives: authors

WE READ AND WRITE: MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES FESTIVAL OF FAITH AND WRITING, 2014

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Each of us is compelled to read and write for a variety of reasons. This was a general theme at this year’s Festival of Faith and Writing conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a unique experience to be on a campus full of readers and writers, to be in a place where reading and writing are at the heart of the experience. So readers and writers out there in blogland––that’s each of you in your own way–– here are some highlights. More information on each of these writers will be posted on upcoming pages of this blog.

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I sat in the front row at an interview with Marilyn Nelson. Her poetry has sustained me as an educator, a person and a writer for a lot of years. She brings so much history and emotion to any reader, young, old, and in between. She talked of her experiences writing three of her books, she talked about the sonnet form and more.

See more about Marilyn Nelson on the Reading Page. Use the menu at the top of the page.

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What could be more exciting than listening to the writer and co-producer of The Good Wife, one of the most popular shows on television? Luke Schelhaas is an Iowa native and a small college graduate. He talked of life in Hollywood and what he actually does all day as a writer on a top TV show. The process of writing for a TV show has its own cachet and its own nitty-gritty.

More about Luke Schelhaas on the Writing Page. Click on Writing in the menu at the top of the page.

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The conference always holds at least one surprise. This time it was the outstanding talk by Pam Munoz Ryan. She writes for children and young adult readers. If only she could talk to readers and writers in every school in America. She has so much to say, and she says it in a gentle and entertaining way. Her books are well known to many of you, but somehow, I had not had the pleasure. Listening to her, I learned something about becoming and belonging. I expect to learn more as I read her work.

Our shared passion for encounters with language continues. We read and write to learn, and to find out what we need and want to learn. We take time to think about words and the power to use them to create something new. Hold onto your hats, the joyride is a whirl of questions, creations, laughter, and meditation. It ends in the fascination of finding a terrific new story, or rediscovering one you want to visit again.

Oh, and among others, I bought a beautiful paperback Penguin Classics edition of Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, something I’ve been promising to do for a long time. It’s a book that won the Nobel Prize and has never been out of print since its birth in the 1920’s. How I first found this book, and how much I love it is a story for another time.

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SEVEN NEW BOOKS YOU MAY NOT WANT TO MISS

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How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson (Jan. 2014)
This author is one of my favorite poets. I loved her biography in poems of George Washington Carver. She has been a National Book Award Finalist, recipient of the Robert Frost Medal and a Newbery Honor winner. Here her poems tell readers about her development as a young woman and as an artist. I’ve added this book to my library and can’t wait to read more of her powerful poems.

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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Jan. 2014)
This novel delivers a fascinating story of brave women who meet life’s challenges at a difficult time in our country’s history. The story is set in the South before the Civil War. There are two central characters and two narrators.

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My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. (Jan. 2014)
According to those who have written about it, this is a book about a book. The author celebrates George Eliot and makes you want to read Middlemarch. It might be described as part memoir and part biography, a bibliomemoir. It was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review by Joyce Carol Oates and sounds to me like a must-read.

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Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen. (Jan. 2014)
This novel may well have you thinking about change and second chances. This writer has many fans. She is a prize-winning writer.

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The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart (Jan. 2014).
The author writes a tale set in the Shaker Community in 1840’s New England. A fifteen-year-old girl sets fire to a family farm. She finds shelter with some Massachusetts Shakers. Early reviews and summaries suggest you will find mystery and inventiveness in this beautifully written story.

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Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser. (Jan. 2014)
This book has been described as conversational and insightful. I always think I love to read about reading. Can’t wait to take a closer look at this book.

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Your Life Is Calling by Jane Pauley (Jan. 2014)
This favorite former news anchor and television personality writes about change. And especially, if you are a fan, you’ll find stories of her life interesting. I love how she is always up for what’s next even when she doesn’t know what that is to be.

I do not read all the books I dream of reading. Still, the dreaming is part of the fun. Which of these would you pick up first? Which one have you already read? Do let us know what you think.