Will “The Great American Read” Encourage Better American Writing?

Three cheers to PBS for producing  “The Great American Read” and fostering interest in and discussion about great literature. Think what you might about some of the choices, none of the one hundred books on the list has achieved its popularity in spite of having been poorly written or edited. Each might be considered a master class in good writing within its genre. Even a book whose narrative style is intentionally informal, such as The Catcher in the Rye, is an example of good writing and good storytelling.

Nothing I write will ever make it into a national list of favorites, but that doesn’t excuse shoddy technique, poor grammar, or ill-chosen words. Think (again) what you might in this postmodern, post-truth era, but I believe that anything that is worth writing should be written well. That includes, heaven help me, tweets and text messages. Although I’m not the voracious reader that I should be, I try to choose reading material that will help me polish my own communication while introducing me to new ideas, new characters, and new adventures.

What about you? As of this writing there are still five more new episodes of “The Great American Read” to be aired and the first two can be streamed from pbs.org. Check out the list of one hundred books. See if there is one that you haven’t read but that look interesting. Borrow a copy from your local library, and see if it doesn’t plant some thoughts on how you can better communicate.  Post your thoughts here if you feel so inclined. If you want help polishing your communication, consider hiring a professional editor. I might be able to help you find one.

Thanks for stopping by!

Pat

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