Readings For Writers: Pick of the Week 10/13/14
Every other week, a member of the Grub community recommends a book they find helpful or inspirational from a craft perspective. This week, Grub's Head Instructor Chip Cheek recommends his favorite novel.
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson is possibly my single favorite novel; I read it for the language—beautiful, lyric—and her extended metaphors and images; it’s about two orphaned sisters raised by an eccentric aunt near a glacial lake. Gilead is also wonderful, won the Pulitzer a few years ago. (There’s a follow-up to that book, Home, which is less good, but still good.) And she’s a phenomenal essayist, too, on religion and culture; her book The Death of Adam is great; the essay “Psalm Eight” in that book is mind-blowing. And a newer book of essays, When I Was a Child I Read Books, is fantastic—just read it; it’s a more contemporary cultural critique. She’s a devout Christian, but you don’t need to be religious to be blown away and deeply affected by her writing.
Chip Cheek is the author of the novel Cape May (Celadon Books, 2019). His stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Harvard Review, Washington Square, and other journals and anthologies. He has been awarded scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop, and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston. A longtime resident of Somerville and former staff member at GrubStreet, Chip now lives with his wife and daughter in the Los Angeles area.See other articles by Chip Cheek