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Original Essays | August 20, 2014

Julie Schumacher: IMG Dear Professor Fitger



Saint Paul, August 2014 Dear Professor Fitger, I've been asked to say a few words about you for Powells.com. Having dreamed you up with a ball-point... Continue »
  1. $16.07 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Dear Committee Members

    Julie Schumacher 9780385538138

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Sorry, but this contest has ended.
An anthology of original essays from some intriguing young writers, Bookmark Now boldly addresses the significance of the production of literature in the twenty-first century.

Each of the authors featured in Bookmark Now recommends a book that inspired them, provoked them, and taught them to fall in love with the art of writing. And now we're passing them on to you. Enter our contest for a chance to win all fifteen books.

The Winner Will Receive:
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Restoration by Rose Tremain
Nothing to Declare by Mary Morris
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Power Politics by Arundhati Roy
The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Atonement by Ian McEwan
How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff
Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson
Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne
The Beautiful Room Is Empty by Edmund White
Lost Horizon by James Hilton
Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
The White Album by Joan Didion

Save 20% on Bookmark Now, and read Kevin Smokler's lyrical essay on books, editing, and contemporary literature.


Christian Bauman recommends:
by Annie Proulx
Some books hit me where I live as a writer, some where I live as a reader, some where I live as a human. This masterpiece accomplished all three. It forced changes and realizations in how I think about word craft, how I present characters and place and the arc of a tale, and, in some ways, how I look at the people around me.
Tracy Chevalier recommends:
by Rose Tremain
This was the first "contemporary" historical novel I read, and it showed me that history doesn't have to be dusty, but can be fresh and relevant and entertaining and heartbreaking. I took my cue from it and have been writing historical fiction ever since.
Stephanie Elizondo Griest recommends:
by Mary Morris
This is the travelogue that made me realize a woman could hit the open road sola and define her journey on her own terms. It inspired an entire generation of female travel writers — myself among them.
Nico Cary recommends:
by Toni Morrison
Fell in love with writing...
    and
by Arundhati Roy
...and fell in love with writing again.
Tom Bissell recommends:
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
No book has horrified me more, gripped me more, or fascinated me more. Gulag's three volumes swirl with millions of ghosts, and no work has better established the ultimate importance of literature.
Benjamin Nugent recommends:
by Ian McEwan
Like a lot of stupid young men, I once hoped to write scathing commentary that would make my readers ashamed of themselves. This English family saga made me want to help readers love people who do shameful things.
Paul Collins recommends:
by Darrell Huff
Huff's charming and eye-opening classic remains as timeless as ever. It should be part of every citizen's field kit — you'll never look at a newspaper, watch a commercial, or listen to a politician in the same way again after reading this book.
Douglas Rushkoff recommends:
by Robert Anton Wilson
The book showed me one can write quite seriously about the weird. It's also one of the most striking form = function works — it does to the reader what has happened to the protagonist.
Glen David Gold recommends:
by C.D. Payne
One of the five funniest books ever written, teaching potential writers that a) cause-and-effect plots never grow tiresome as long as b) we love the characters who c) will remain lovable even if they do odious things while d) pursuing a goal we want them to achieve.
Karl Soehnlein recommends:
by Edmund White
It's a book about breaking away from a stifling upbringing to become the adult you were meant to be, while falling into doomed love affairs and creating the friendships that will last a lifetime. It's also a riveting and startling piece of history — a look at how life for gay men, in the years before the Stonewall Riots, was both terribly repressed and achingly vibrant.
Kelley Eskridge recommends:
by James Hilton
I read Lost Horizon when I was barely a teenager and had just made an exhilarating, terrifying, life-bending choice. The book took me like a storm: I wanted to leap into it and wrestle Conway to the ground to keep him in his place of dreams, as I was struggling to keep myself in mine. It made me braver about my own choices at a time when I needed all the courage I could find. It's a great, joyful, tragic, hopeful book.
Dan Kennedy recommends:
by Steve Martin
There's a scene where Ray, the fifty-one year old multi-millionaire software genius savant, is eating dinner out of a white paper bag while standing in his kitchen. Watershed moment when I read it. I guess I instantly knew should my wildest dreams ever come true—like, say, later in life discovering I had somehow become a multi-millionaire software genius savant — I would still be eating take-out or delivery while standing at my kitchen sink.
Neal Pollack recommends:
by Philip Roth
Portnoy showed me, at age 15, that sex is an acceptable topic for literature, and that sex is funny. Experience has revealed that the sex scenes are much closer to realism than I previously thought.
Meghan Daum recommends:
by Joan Didion
I'm hardly the first writer to claim existential transformation at the hands (okay, the pen, the typewriter, whatever…) of Joan Didion, but to be twenty-two years old and reading sentences that go on for nearly a page and employ more commas than many writers use in entire chapters is to find oneself kneeling at a sort of literary altar. That last sentence, which is more or less a bad stylistic rip-off of Joan Didion, is a good indication of how much The White Album (and, in quick succession, all her other books) changed my life. On behalf of the thousands of young writers who steal from Didion everyday, all I can say is thanks.
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