01 December 2010

Active Reading

I interviewed Tim O'Brien for an article I wrote sometime earlier this year. Most famously, he wrote "The Things they Carried," the story of a group of army grunts in Vietnam. I've read every single book he's ever written, and he's always been my favorite writer. So of course, when I interviewed him, I had to ask him about writing, and he told me to always "read like a writer," asking myself why I liked something, and how it moved me.

I just finished reading "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer. What started as an affinity for the movie "Everything is Illuminated" (mostly because Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz had a leading role), has developed into a deep respect and admiration for Safran Foer, both as a writer and as a reader. 

As a writer, I've been paying attention to the way he manipulates style to get across the voice and tone of his character. I want to try and develop my own style and voice in my own works. It makes me want to write more. As a reader, I appreciate the always-moving, ever-developing story and the way it drew me in and didn't let me go until I had finished the entire novel, almost without realizing it.

Tim O'Brien will always be my favorite author, but Jonathan Safran Foer definitely comes close, and I highly recommend reading his books. Find your own way to read it, whether it's as a reader, as a writer, or as something else, something that only you can define. 

"What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls?" 

- Jonathan Safran Foer, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", page 1.

1 comment:

the walking man said...

The truth of it for me is it took me thirty years before I found "my voice." Then you become comfortable with what you write, that is the sign that it is you speaking and not you channeling someone elses style.