Book #21, Tropical Fish: Tales from Entebbe, by Doreen Baingana, is, as the subtitle suggests, short stories about Uganda. Specifically, the stories are about three sisters. One spends some time in the United States (as my regular readers know, I love stories about immigrants). The stories are sad and vivid.
Book #22 is the kind of book you take notes on, and I have a whole file of notes on my desktop now that I'm done. The book is Teaching Adolescent Writers, by Kelly Gallagher. This was the perfect kind of teacher book: a combination of inspiration, theory, and extremely practical stuff you can do in class tomorrow (except that it's summer, so in my case, in eight weeks or so). Especially nice was the reminder that there are quite a few things I'm already doing right. I can always use that.
This next book wasn't half-read but it's been on my shelf for a while. Every book on writing or teaching I read seems to recommend it, and I finally got it down and just read it. "It" is book #23, Stephen King's On Writing. King's advice is practical and down-to-earth, but also full of why he writes: because it's just plain fun. Listen to this:
"On some days...writing is a pretty grim slog. On others...I feel that buzz of happiness, that sense of having found the right words and put them in a line. It's like lifting off in an airplane: you're on the ground, on the ground, on the ground...and then you're up, riding on a magical cushion of air and prince of all you survey. That makes me happy, because it was what I was made to do....It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy."In my own far-less-successful way, writing is about that for me too. Getting happy!
This post is linked to today's edition of the Saturday Review of Books.