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Of Things Gone Astray

By Janina Matthewson
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Chris K.
Apr 4, 2017

What a delightful book. It is spare and quirky and dryly humorous. Though it includes numerous fantastical occurrences, I wouldn't quite call it magic realism; more like metaphorical absurdity. Surreal things happen, and the characters grapple with them just like anything else that happens, because sometimes life feels absurd.


Of Things Gone Astray is about people who--none of whom realize--have lost themselves. Their routines have become habits of action without thought, and they've lost track of who they once aspired to be and to what might give their lives more meaning. They don't

Dancing on the Head of a Pen: The Practice of a Writing Life

By Robert Benson
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Helen H.
May 11, 2016

Robert Benson always takes the question of “how to write a book” very seriously. For he was once "in the same spot and grateful for any help that might move [him] along . . . Sharing the things [he] knows about how a person goes about telling his story seems only right. Perhaps it is even, as the old prayer book says, a good and joyful thing.” He’s the perfect mentor to help nudge a new writer on her way.


One of my favorite things about Dancing on the Head of a Pen are the chapter titles. "Dark Marks on a Page", for instance, explains how different writers make their marks. Benson’s way is