Tag Archives: writing a book


I’m taking a sabbatical from book club to make my second serious stab at writing a real book, one with its own ISBN number, one for which some amount of money will change hands. I tried this once before, but when my enthusiasm lagged and it became obvious that only about a third of what I was writing was any good, i.e. readable, I stopped—thinking that I had a lifetime to finish! So Marjorie, I say to myself, that deadline is soon upon me (well not soon-soon but you know what I mean) and if I’m ever to have my name associated with an ISBN number it had better be now. Sadly they don’t give graduate theses those magic numbers or I would already be so anointed.

It would be nice if I were taking a sabbatical from work instead of weekly reading seminars—or, as I fondly refer to it, the Literary Lawyers Book Club (the group actually has a most erudite name which I find hard to remember). Since my fellow readers are all lawyers I’m trying to fit in by taking a Coursera introductory law course from the University of Pennsylvania—memorizing key legal phrases; for example, if the subject of transsubstantivity comes up, I’ll be able to respond knowingly. Finally. I’ve wondered about that for years…

I do enjoy this club a lot…as described earlier it’s an eclectic mix of literary seminar, bookish salon without a hip dress-code, and weekly political gnashings of teeth. I’ve already been introduced to two most interesting writers, previously unread by me. Don DeLillo and Paul Beatty. These discoveries have been passed on, in the case of Underworld, to my engineer granddaughter who is interested in waste, with Beatty’s Sellout going to my techie grandson who loves to argue issues of race with his many-hued and very smart friends.

Today at book club: we agreed The Sellout is brilliant in its own narrow way; Bob offered up Easter chocolates; and my kind friends offered to read the partial manuscript of The Book I must produce by August before I submit it for review. That made me both grateful and nervous…inspired and frightened…challenged and exposed…what if they hate it? So, talking to myself again, I say there (old chap) write it so they cannot possibly hate it. Done.


Reading and Writing and …Reading and Writing and …Just cannot seem to get past those two words

Before fully retreating into my own private writing struggles, here are two resolutions for 2014 and a few book notes about 2013.

The Big Resolution: By the end of March 2014, I will KNOW that I am a writer of books OR accept the fact that my ambition and talents do not extend that far—in which case I will strive to become a brilliant blogger. Of course the book will not have actually been written by then but I will know if the will and skill to spend all my spare time writing exist.

An Important Resolution: I will no longer chastise myself for buying more books than I can read—which is not the same at all as buying too much other stuff like shoes or doughnuts or cars.

  • Because anything we can do to slow the demise of real paper and print books is a worthy cause.
  • Also consider that books can never ever harm you—they do not kill you with calories or high speeds and they are not produced by impoverished children in Bangladesh (at least I don’t think they are).

I will buy as many books as I want and my apartment can hold.

I read many books in 2013. The last three are worth mentioning.

On the Trail of Genghis Khan (Tim Cope), a young Australian explorer rides horseback 6,000 miles across the steppes traveled, conquered and ruled by Genghis Kahn and a Nomadic assortment of adventurers. So well written the geography, history, contemporary life and politics, and the personal journey of Cope and his little band of animals all flow seamlessly off the page and into our wanderlusting hearts.

The Last Train to Zona Verde (Paul Theroux) makes me worry that my favorite travel writer is getting ready to hang up his walking shoes. Since we are about the same age and I still have 105 countries to reach that possibility makes me quite nervous—what if I’m too old to get to every country in the world? And why do I even want to go if Theroux hasn’t written (or won’t write) about them? This book is vintage Theroux travel writing. Brilliant, thoughtful, cranky, regretful and funny.

A Delicate Truth (John le Carré) is included here because, while le Carré hasn’t been my favorite mystery writer for awhile, he is still so damn good at combining spy/mystery stories with social commentary. Perhaps a little heavy handed on occasion but always spot-on as his fellow Brits would say. A Delicate Truth might be the best of his recent books.

 My Previous Book!  Yes, I have written one book. You may not have heard of it. Not on the Times bestseller list. It officially resides somewhere in the darkest depths of the San Diego State University libraries where Master’s Theses go to die. It’s called the Intersection of Age and Ethnicity: An Ethnographic Study of the Relationships Between American Nursing Home Residents and their Refugee and Immigrant Caregivers. (Marjorie Neset) I’m actually rather proud of it although I suspect it is not great writing and the title could use a little work. But, damn it, it is a book.

If I can write one, I can write two. 

Intersection of Age and Ethnicity: An Ethnographic Study of the Relationships Between American Nursing home Residents and Their Refugee and Immigrant Caregivers.
Intersection of Age and Ethnicity: An Ethnographic Study of the Relationships Between American Nursing home Residents and Their Refugee and Immigrant Caregivers.