DELIVERING HAPPINESS ~ TAKE JOY

We Women Who Write have a new book to devour.

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The Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten is a collection of feature essays that he wrote for the Washington Post.  Weingarten is a nationally syndicated humor columnist and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.  You’ve probably read the title piece.  It’s about professional violinist Joshua Bell.

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It began as a stunt – what would happen if you put a world-class musician outside a Washington DC subway station to play for spare change?  Would anyone notice?  Well, turns out that no one noticed the violinist but everyone noticed Weingarten’s story.  There’s a video, too, that became part of the widely referenced essay about life lived too quickly.

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Weingarten writes nonfiction that reads like a novel.  I first started reading his pieces after the Gene-and-Gina Wars.  That’s Gina Barreca – A woman/writer/professor/Brooklyn Girl who Gets It.  Gina and Gene collaborated on a book of secrets, I’m with Stupid, their shtick for two years.

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It’s a series of emails on universal themes that expose the differences in male/female behaviors. Chapter by chapter, Gina and Gene visit subjects about which women and men disagree. It’s neither humorless nor pedantic – it’s just slap-up fun.  And the covers – yes, they each get one – ignite conversations on planes and trains and a squintillion other places. Trust me.

Weingarten’s book caught Patty’s eye, a recommendation from a Discriminating Reader. We are thinking that reading the work of a master storyteller will be great fun.  And why not learn from the best?  David Halberstam, a Pulitzer winner for his Vietnam coverage, says that telling a good story requires a great idea for why the story works – for what it is and how it connects to the human condition. It’s clear that Weingarten does more than just reporting and writing – he is thinking.  He holds the story up to the light, distills it, refines it and then writes his way to the heart of the matter.  I can’t wait to grab hold of the book with both hands and Take Joy.

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Toni

Want to join us?  If you’re into reading screens, you’ll find the first essay, The Great Zucchini, here ~

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/18/AR2006011801434.html

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Happiness Song #14          Courtesy of The Queen of Soul