I have to finish writing the play this morning before we go to Commanders Palace for our annual New Year's Eve lunch with Jean and Gillian. Yay!
And today, I conclude my entries on the Ten Books That Have Stayed With Me. Last, and definitely not least, is Herman Wouk's Youngblood Hawke.
I was kind of surprised recently to discover that Wouk, born in 1915, was not only still alive but had published yet another novel, The Lawgiver. I haven't gotten a copy; and maybe at some point I'll go ahead and read it, but seriously, the TBR pile is so out of control already...and I already want to reread some of his previous novels. Wouk isn't as well known today as he was in his heyday (the 1950's thru the 1980's), but he was a bestseller AND a PUlitzer Prize winner. The first book of his I read was The Winds of War, and I went on to also read War and Remembrance, Marjorie Morningstar, The Caine Mutiny, City Boy, and Aurora Dawn. I always enjoyed his books very much, but my absolute favorite of them all was Youngblood Hawke. I only read the book once, but it really stuck with me over the years, and seriously, I can't count all the times when something has happened in my life, my career, or I saw a news article or something on television that brought it back to mind.
Youngblood Hawke was the story of a young man from rural Kentucky, a war veteran, who comes to New York City with the manuscript of his first novel in a box, determined to make it in publishing. At 783 pages, reading Youngblood Hawke is a definite commitment, but it's totally worth it. It offers an amazing insight into New York and the world of publishing in the 1940's and 1950's, as our energetic and determined yet flawed young author navigates the world of being a publishing wunderkind; as his career goes up and down, how 'friends' fade away as your fortunes wane, who do you trust and who don't you? Does your publisher have your best interests and your career in mind, or are they concerned only about the bottom line?
It's also a very tragic, heartbreaking love story.
Have you ever known a famous man before he became famous? It may be an irritating thing to remember, because chances are he seemed like anybody else to you.
Great opening, right?
I really do need to read this again; as a published author, it will undoubtedly resonate more now than it did when I was seventeen.
And now back to the spice mines.