Writers Who Read
#45

4 December 2022

Agenda



  • Why We're Here

  • Literary Forensics
  •     - What do I bring?
  •     - What do I feel?
  •     - What do I notice?
  •     - What do I want to learn?

  • Next Month's Reading & Study


Why We're Here

We Writers want to improve our craft

by Reading like a Writer

through Literary Forensics training

we learn from each other

Roundtable Rules

Always refer back to the book

We practice active listening & serendipity

Every feeling and observation is valid...
but not every conclusion

Always refer back to the book

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Introductions

What do I bring
to this book?

Meet today's author: Joshua Cohen

  • Grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and attended the Manhattan School of Music studying composition
  • Does not have an MFA, and has expressed disdain for the degree
  • Lived in various cities in Eastern Europe between 2001 and 2006, working as a journalist
  • Reads both German and Hebrew and has translated works in both languages into English
  • In 2017, Granta Magazine named him to its decennial list of the Best Young American Writers
  • Currently lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn

  •  

“I kind of see fiction as a hoarding of truth from as many different sources as possible in order to present the picture of a feeling.”
- Joshua Cohen

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

What do I feel?

What in the book elicited that feeling?

Every feeling and observation is valid...
but every conclusion should be questioned

We practice serendipity
- nothing is too crazy

Always refer back to the book

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

What do I notice?


  •    • Language and Grammar

  •    • Context

  •    • Point of view

  •    • Character & character development

  •    • Horizontal structure

  •    • Pacing

  •    • Layering of themes

  •    • Overall effect

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Stats & Background

  • Marketing: Jewish Literature & Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Biographical Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Humorous Fiction & Satire
  • Genre: Longform Historical Archplot
  • Print Pages: 248; Word count: 65,744
  • Reading Grade: 9-10th; Avg. wds/sent.: 14.59
  • Lexical Density: 47.47; Flesch Reading Ease: 63.70

  • POV: Ruben Blum; Person: 1st; Tense: Past

  • Publish date: June 22, 2021
  • Publisher: New York Review of Books
  • Audio book narr.: Joshua Cohen, David Duchovny, Ethan Herschenfeld (8 hours 31 minutes)
  • Recognition: 2022 Pulitzer Prize; 2021 National Jewish Book Award; Best books of 2021: NYT, Kirkus, WSJ
  • Writing his 6th Novel

  • Inspired by Netanyahu's visit to Yale, where Harold Bloom was tapped to chaperone Ben-Zion, his wife, and three sons

  • Dedicated to Harold Bloom, whom Cohen knew and visited

  • “Eliminate the Diaspora or the Diaspora will eliminate you.” —Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Tisha B’Av, 1938

Literary Forensics

 

What do I bring?

What do I feel?

What do I notice?

What do I want to learn?

Writers Who Read: Up Next

January 8: The School for Good Mothers - Jessamine Chan
(USA, 2022)

Required reading: TBD


Writers Who Read: Coming Up

February 5: Cold Enough for Snow – Jessica Au (USA, 2022)
March 5: Winter Work – Dan Fesperman (USA, 2022)
April 2: The Candy House – Jennifer Egan (USA, 2022)
May 7: Sea of Tranquility – Emily St. John Mandel (USA, 2022)
June 4: The Passenger – Cormac McCarthy (USA, 2022)

Thanks to: Boulder Writers Alliance

Contact Gary: hello@garyalanmcbride.com
Literary Forensics Resources

Happy
Sleuthing!