Giving and Receiving

I’ve recently writ­ten two art­icles on the pro­cess of get­ting my nov­el, Deja Vu, pub­lished. The first con­cerns writ­ing the nov­el, the second con­cerns edit­ing it.

On a dif­fer­ent sub­ject (almost), I was for­tu­nate enough to attend the wed­ding of two friends a few days ago, and I was struck by their choice of wed­ding gift: they wanted a single book from each guest. Not just a ‘good book’, but a book that has moved the guest in some way. Perhaps the most ‘import­ant’ book a guest has read.

I chose ‘The Hollow Man’ by Dan Simmons. When I first read this sci­ence fic­tion mas­ter­piece, I knew noth­ing of Dante’s ‘Inferno’ (still don’t), upon which it is based. But the book was a grip­ping read, and I remem­ber being deeply impressed that Simmons could write about extremely bizarre quantum phys­ic­al phe­nom­ena and com­bine them with a grip­ping plot. It’s a feat I hope one day to rep­lic­ate. At the time, read­ing Simmons had a spe­cial feel about it. Nobody, it seemed, had heard of him. He was pub­lished in England but couldn’t be found on any of the lists, and I nev­er heard men­tion of him in the reviews. I had dis­covered Simmons in a lib­rary and, in the anonym­ity of zero mar­ket­ing, I was free to make up my mind entirely about his writ­ing; I had no intim­a­tions of his gen­er­al pecep­tion by liter­ati or fans. He had been recom­men­ded by no-one. Finding this book entirely on my own terms was, there­fore, very import­ant to me, and, com­bined with the qual­ity of the work, made it a nat­ur­al choice for Martin and Dana. Best of luck in their mar­ried life. When they post a list of the books they received, I will link to it from here.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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