If I Could’ve Been the Original Author,
This is the Book I Wish I’d Written
By Jeff Salter
Tough topic this week. And, as I often do, I’m going to skitter around the strict question and answer, instead, the BOOKS (plural) that I wish I’d written… if I’d been the original author.
One of the problems this topic presents is that I’ve read so many terrific books in my life, so far. How can I narrow that down to a single title that I wish I’d written?
Moreover, do I wish I’d actually WRITTEN that book? Or merely that I had the honor, the fame, the recognition of having written it? [There’s a subtle difference… think about it.]
After struggling for a response to this topic, I finally came upon a title that would serve me well, if I’d been its original author: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I’ve dealt with that title in a previous blog, which you can find here:
Why Bryson’s title? Because I love the way he entertains the reader even as he educates us, often (at times) with microscopic detail.
Then I began thinking about books that were “deeper” (than humor and education) — in the sense of their “importance.” That led me to remembering Stephen Ambrose… and (in particular), Band of Brothers. The HBO mini-series is considerably more wide-ranging than Ambrose’s book, but both have the same spirit.
Why Ambrose’s title? Because it helped open the collective memories of a generation of ex-soldiers… to share with their off-spring what they went through (and why).
I was familiar with Ernie Pyle from my own youth, when his “biography” was one of the titles I read in the Bobbs-Merrill Childhood of Famous Americans Series. Plus, I had seen him depicted by actor Burgess Meredith in the excellent film, The Story of G.I. Joe. As an adult I’d read a few of his war-time columns here and there, and finally read his 1943 book, Here Is Your War.
Why Pyle’s title? Because it – and the many dispatches / columns the Pulitzer Prize winner filed in 700 subscribing newspapers – really changed the way people learned about war, wrote about war, and felt about war.
Change of Pace
Just in case I’ve totally gone off the rails in my responses to this week’s topic, I asked my wife to answer the same question. Her selections were Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Fifteen by the late Beverly Cleary, and (basically) all of the books by Elizabeth Peters (AKA Barbara Mertz).
What about YOU? Are there any books that have so impressed you that you wish you’d written them yourself?
For other blogs about other favorite authors or titles, have a look at these:
[JLS # 535]