Last week, we highlighted some brilliant books that grab you from page one. We like surprising endings, too—we don’t skip to the end just to know in advance how it’s going to turn out. Ian McEwan appears twice on this week’s list; maybe he’s the master of the modern literary shocker ending. So sit back and read a book from this week’s list—then you can tense up for its final pages.
Better to have a striking beginning or a shocking ending?
I wrote back to say I would need guidance, as I had published four collections of short stories but had never written a publishable novel. We worked well together, and “Shoeless Joe” was just like a baby — it took nine months. I wrote it under the title “The Kidnapping of J.D. Salinger.” Houghton Mifflin chose the title “Shoeless Joe,” though they considered “Dreamfield.” When finished, it was awarded the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship and was published in 1982.
Great first-person account of how Shoeless Joe became Field of Dreams.
Great news for book lovers. The results of a study commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to measure which activities make us happier are in – and the top joy-inducing spots are occupied by dancing, swimming and … wait for it, wait for it … going to the library. Apparently, the uplift it gives people is equivalent to a £1,359 pay rise.
That’s about $2000. Not too shabby.
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