Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Most writers are avid readers? What is the one book that you wish had your name on the title page?
Diane MacKinnon: There are many books over the years I’ve wished I’d written. I really dove into Peace Like a River and admired that book so much–if I’d written it I’d be very proud. Also, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I just love the creativity of the story that JK Rowling came up with when she wrote those seven books. I admit I’m a big fan of “tying up loose ends” so I love how so many pieces of the story came together in the last book. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed Me Before You, which I would have loved to have written, and also The Rosie Project. I used to read huge epics (like The Lord of the Rings books) but in more recent years I’ve been into books that have a more narrow focus. Someday, after a long career as a writer, I’d love to have written a book that writers re-read as often as I have re-read Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.
Wendy Thomas: I have no desire to co-opt anyone else’s work and so the honest answer to this question is that I’d like to have my name on the book of mine that is published.
Having said this, though, there will always be a few books that stand out in my mind of which I would have loved to have been a part of.
Here we go again, I can already hear you guys sigh, “The Princess Bride” – hands down is the book I would have loved to have worked on. It’s not so much the story (although, let’s face it, it’s brilliant) but it’s the tone, humor, and intelligence in that book that I so respect. That is the first book that made me stop and say, “Wait a minute, you’re allowed to do this in a book?”
I would have loved to have been a part of a cookbook (I love to cook but don’t have the depth to really be a foodie.) I would have loved to have worked on *anything* with Anthony Bourdain, his wit is so sharp, it cuts my breath.
Books where people are taught life information like “The Cure Unknown” – about Lyme disease and books that are singularly stunning like the “Scarlet Letter.”
In short, I would have loved to be a part of anything that moved others.
Jamie Wallace: This is a tough question and one that I see flying around Twitter and Facebook on a weekly basis. I lean towards an answer similar to Wendy’s. Though there are so many books I admire, I can’t quite imagine any of them being mine. An author’s work is a manifestation of her essence. I could no more put my name on someone else’s story than I could lay claim to someone else’s soul.
That said, there are so many writers and stories that I admire and aspire to emulate. I love Neil Gaiman for his darkly beautiful tales and mastery of a well-turned phrase. I adore Vonnegut for his ability to present the human condition with both sharp wit and deep empathy. I love Tolkien and Rowling and Pullman for their boundless imaginations and skill in world crafting. I rever E.B. White for his clear, concise prose and for the way he makes the mundane illuminate universal truths.
I could go on and on. There is truly no end to the list of writers who have inspired admiration and envy in my creative heart. But, the only book I wish to bear my name is the one I have not yet written, but will … someday soon.
Susan Nye: I need to delve into the classics to answer this one. I think it would have to be My Antonia by Willa Cather. There is a wonderful rhythm and flow to the book. And who won’t want to write something with that kind of staying power? Written in 1918, it is still read and well-loved today. Note, I said, I think it would have to be. Depending on the day, I might change my mind and wish I’d written any or all of John Cheever’s short stories.