Last summer, in hot and furious pursuit of credits to graduate, I took a creative writing class. Instead of being excited for the learning ahead, I just hoped to get through it without ending up in tears trying to finish the assignments. My college memories consist of me hoping this at the start of every semester, often ending up sadly disappointed. This time though, I got darn lucky.
Mr. Baxter, the creative writing professor, turned out to be one of my all time favorite teachers. I liked him because he was young enough to remember how hard college is for those foolish enough to endure it. He understood we all had other homework and other commitments in addition to his course. Instead of taking these situations personally, he accepted them and asked for no justifications. He honestly couldn’t have cared less about the excuses. All he cared about was writing and literature. I hate that expression about someone’s “passion” for their work. It’s so often used to describe people not deserving of the title. But for this professor, it applies in spades.
As we made our way through the semester, he led discussions about the stories we read with infectious zeal. His intensity and focus on writing styles, sentence structure and phrasing completely changed the way I read and interpret writing.
In the final week of the class, Mr. Baxter offered to create a reading list for anyone interested. I jumped at the chance and when I met with him to retrieve my final paper, he presented me with a two-page list of books. The selections are a mix of titles specifically tailored to my tastes (stories set in the 1940s!) and classics everyone should read. Each title is accompanied by a note, justifying it’s position on the list.
Long story short, I’ve only made it through one of the books on the list as yet, so I will be discussing each one as I finish it here. Anyone who would like to jump in and read one of the books along with me is most welcome. I’ll post the intro to each new book every other Saturday morning, allowing two weeks for reading in between.
All right then. My post on The Slaves of Solitude will be up on Wednesday, July 27th. In the meantime, if you’d like to read along, inexpensive copies of the book can be found here. Don’t let that odd cover art fool you, either. The Slaves of Solitude has nothing to do with houses of ill repute.
Check out my Amazon aStore with all the books on the list here. There’s also a link for it in my menu at the top of the page.