Tag Archives: Favorite books

David Busis: What PREP Means To Me as a Writer

Posted by August 28th, 2014

Labor Day weekend always reminds me of one of my favorite books, PREP, by Curtis Sittenfeld. I read it obsessively over a Labor Day weekend many summers ago, barely doing anything else until I’d finished it. In graduate school, I met a writer named David Busis, and when he told me how much he loved the book, too, I knew that we’d be friends. In admiring the same book, we spoke something of the same language. When the two of us had a chance to take a writing workshop with the author, Curtis Sittenfeld, we were like giddy children all semester. Not only is Curtis a fantastic novelist, she’s also a great writing teacher, generous with her time and insights.

PREP on RandomHouse.comI asked David, who recently became a Book Country member, to write a blog post for us about what PREP means to him as a writer.

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When I was teaching at a prep school, I asked the head of the English department if he liked Curtis Sittenfeld’s PREP. He complained that Lee, the main character, never changes. Actually, Lee grows up, but you can only measure the change by triangulating between yourself, the high school protagonist, and the adult narrator.

Like Lee, I experienced adolescence as a maelstrom of desire, a time when the most pedestrian feelings of rejection and loneliness sometimes seemed poetic and noble because of their intensity. Most of the things I wanted—a school prize, a girl, an invitation—seem unimportant, though they felt more urgent than almost anything else has since. I love the book for reminding me of that urgency. Continue reading

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Meet Lucy Silag

Posted by July 3rd, 2013

Lucy Silag is the new Community and Engagement Manager at Book Country. She’s worked as a bookseller (at Bookshop Santa Cruz, an indie out in Northern California), in book publicity (at Doubleday and Spiegel & Grau, two imprints of Penguin Random House) and as a writing teacher and tutor (at the University of Iowa in Iowa City). Lucy is the author of the Beautiful Americans trilogy of novels for young adults, and has written essays, travel articles, and book reviews for newspapers and magazines.

Lucy Silag photoHi there! The importance of a writing community became clear to me when I was a fiction student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, so I am thrilled to be a part of this thriving, diverse writing community.

I figured the best way for me to introduce myself to BC writers and readers was to tell everybody about a couple of the books that I am really, really into, and why.

At the University of Iowa, I taught a lot of different types of writing. One semester I chose to teach Emma in a creative writing course. This was selfish—I just wanted an excuse to spend a month talking about Jane Austen.  Like all Austen fans, I adore her turns of phrase and the sweeping romance of her novels. But I especially like Emma because of the way it is plotted—if you do a timeline of the events in the novel (as we did one morning in my class), you see how amazing Austen was at engaging the reader in multiple storylines at once. Also, I find Mr. Woodhouse’s hypochondria totally tragic. Most of the screen adaptations tend to mock this element in his character, but in the most recent BBC Emma miniseries (the one with Romola Garai), Mr. Woodhouse is the heartbreaker that I think Austen intended him to be.

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