Well what do I say about Stephen King‘s book On Writing? I want to say I love it, which I do, but I am enjoying this book in a way I have never enjoyed a book before. I am 170 pages into the book so far and can’t wait to finish. The pages turn themselves as I find myself grinning ear-to-ear at various moments reading behind-the-scenes of Stephen King’s life. The book is one part autobiography, another part writing guide, and a less obvious part book on navigating through the crazy and unpredictable circumstances of life. Check out the Goodreads page for more info.
Stephen King brilliantly wrote this book as a tool for writers to improve their craft. His brilliance does not come from what he has to say about writing (I guess technically it does), but it comes from how he says it. Rather than be a boring list of what to do and what not to do, Stephen King tells stories from his childhood and from his career as a vessel for lessons on writing (hey look, it’s the title!). I’ve encountered a quote that I think accurately sums up the point of this book:
“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.” (King 101)
Other than On Writing, I’ve been reading a lot of short stories by Franz Kafka. I also love reading biographical information about him. Kafka’s life was insanely interesting, and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a writer whose work more accurately reflects their life than Kafka. Kafka famously requested that his best friend Max Brod burn all of his work upon Kafka’s death, but Brod (thankfully) did not follow Kafka’s request. I just found out the other day Brod escaped the Nazis on the last train from Prague before the Nazis closed the Czech border. The Nazis found Kafka’s work to be very against their regime, so had Brod not gotten on that train, great works such as The Trial and The Castle would have never seen the light of day. That is so cool in my opinion to think about. There are tons of unique little details in the story of Franz Kafka that seem to get better and better. If you are interested if Kafka, I would check out his short story A Hunger Artist, one of the last stories he wrote before his death.
Word Count: 428