1. I do not want to discuss whether I agree with the ideas or not. This discussion does not inform me as a writer, which is what these notes are intended for. Rather, I want to find out how an argument is formed through this storytelling and writing, and how those techniques help or hinder the arguments, the ideas, or the reader's ability to engage with them.
2. I see a difference between storytelling and writing. Some books written well are boring and nothing that happens seems important to me, while some good stories are written so poorly that I cannot understand or enjoy them. The two are intertwined and support each other: what lasts seems to be popular stories that are well written. This is a key examination in these notes.
3. Some of these notes come off as me making objective statements. I do not intend this. These are all simply my perspectives on these books in the personal context in which I read them. But to save me from writing "to me" too many times, I will just say what I perceived and not worry about tediously billboarding my personal perspectives.
4. I think it may be useful to think of most of these books as on a line somewhere between pulp fiction and literature. That is to say, driven by the plot with no import, or driven by import and introspection with no plot. These are extreme ends, obviously, and impossible. But literary fiction is genre fiction in the same way that science fiction, fantasy, and chick lit are.
5. The popular phrase when I was in college was, "Show, don't tell." I disagree. I think books that only show risk illegibility, while ones that only tell often fail through boredom and reader fatigue. Instead, my thinking about showing and telling is, "Show and tell, but do both well."
6. Thanks for visiting and feel free to jump in with your notes or disagreements. These are intended to be notes for me, posted on a blog simply to be more easily searchable. But I am always up for a discussion about these issues and writing in general.
7. I only wish I was taking notes like this for my whole life. There's a lot of great books I've read and learned from that I don't have notes on. Think of this as my notes on books I've read after turning thirty.