Writing I Like

When it comes to the kinds of things that I personally like to read or would like to publish, I’ve found that I like “joky” writing the most. Humor is kind of a weird phenomenon, just because it seems like it can be used in a lot of different ways, and can sometimes turn quite serious or even tragic. My favorite book is definitely J.D. Salinger’s Franny & Zooey, but two books I also love are Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. The style employed in these books is similar and very strange, as both use a lot of wordplay and often take on a kind of ironic or playful tone when dealing with subject matter that is actually quite grave. I like this comedic style of writing because I think it takes a lot of courage as well as taste to discuss serious topics in a tone that can be either playful or even mocking. From personal experience, I know that it is not only technically difficult to write good wordplay, but (perhaps more importantly) also very challenging to see the “funny” or bright side of things sometimes. So you could say that good humor is an important and maybe even necessary exercise in both skill and spirit. Plus, I would be willing to bet that there is more of a literary market for comedies than there is for tragedies… (Though, now that I think about it, a literary journal dedicated to publishing only tragedies sounds strangely hilarious, in a sort of messed-up way.) In the words of Rushmore, one of my favorite movies: “Let’s just hope it has a happy ending.”

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2 responses to “Writing I Like

  1. Is the writing style of “Franny & Zooey” similar to “The Catcher in The Rye”? If so, I should read it! TCITR is actually the first book that I ate up. I love the natural writing style of J.D.S.! Since I read TCTIR, I’ve tried so much to emulate that style of of writing (with my own discourse, of course!), but it hasn’t worked out well for me. At least I’m trying,…?
    You’ve read The House of Leaves? My ex started reading it a while ago. Crazy concept huh? I think I should give a copy to my mom. It’ll be one book she won’t be able to get through in a week.
    And yes, having humor on the part of the reader is important. (That’s definitely something I have to work on, because I sometimes take everything waaay too seriously.) But maybe that’s been my problem. Maybe my readers have to understand me before they even begin to read my words.

  2. Thank you for responding to my post! Yeah, I don’t know if even I will recommend House of Leaves anymore… I’m writing a senior thesis on that book literally right now, and unfortunately the more I read it the more I HATE it. I really don’t think it gets better with time, unlike The Crying of Lot 49 and definitely Franny & Zooey (albeit for different reasons). The dialogue is SO good in Franny & Zooey–similar to but in my opinion better than The Catcher in the Rye, which has just one too many lazy “goddams” for my square but more importantly demanding literary taste. I consciously steal from Salinger, too, as you can see through my very expressive use of italics. And trust me, there’s no need to apologize for takings things too seriously to me of all people. I’m obsessive-compulsive about pretty much everything, including but not limited to even fictional characters. Come to think of it, though, that may be my problem too…

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