[Guest Post and Giveaway]
by Frances Lefkowitz, author of TO HAVE NOT: A MEMOIRWe hear a lot these days about the end of reading, the death of the book, the triumph of all things virtual and wireless. As a reader, as well as a writer, these pronouncements scare me, because I believe the slow and delicious escape that comes from reading books is crucial to our sanity—especially as wirelessness makes this world increasingly fast and overwhelming. So when I was invited to speak at an English class at the local junior college, I was astounded, and oh-so-encouraged, by the reception these students gave to a visiting author. Clearly reading is alive and well, and even the young and texting still feel a reverence for the book.
The class had just spent a month studying my new book, a coming-of-age memoir about a rough-and-tumble childhood in 1970’s San Francisco. Their instructor had chosen to teach my book because she thought the subject matter—growing up poor, then trying to change my life with a scholarship to an Ivy League college, and discovering the complications of success and ambition—would speak to these students, who were at similar crossroads in their own lives. She also thought the direct, honest, and accessible voice seemed just right for engaging readers. Finally—and most satisfying for me to hear—she felt the book had rich literary merit, so she could use it to teach lessons on language, theme, extended metaphor, and other elements of English composition. So the class of 30 or so mostly 20-somethings had taken tests and written papers on my book, and even tried their hand at writing their own brief memoirs. Then, one afternoon, I joined them, to discuss the book and answer any questions they might have.
They had plenty of questions! But first, they had to text their friends and family to tell them that “the author” had arrived. And to take pictures with me on their cell phones. And to ask me to sign their books. And for those who had forgotten their books (these are college students, after all), to ask me to sign their notebooks. But when the excitement finally wore down and we got to their questions and comments, what impressed me most was how closely they had read the book, how well they understood it, and how much they appreciated it. They pointed out metaphors and images that they loved. They asked me about foreshadowing that I had not noticed before. They commented on the bittersweet themes and how they related to their own lives. In short, they demonstrated that even in this speedy, screen-focused day and age, books and authors still matter. And they restored my faith in the future of reading.
To Enter fill out this FORM. The requirements for valid entry are below:
- Comment on this post - comment on the article's content or leave a comment or question for the author or myself.
- Be a follower of this blog by GFC or Subscription.
- Giveaway is for US/Canada only. Ends 1/28/11.
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Good luck to all who enter and thank you very much to Frances Lefkowitz for being with us today! "To Have Not" is available for purchase on Amazon as well as other book retailers. Click on the cover image to price or buy from Amazon.