introducing readers to writers since 1995

December 04, 2004

Paul Clayton's Holiday Gift Suggestion

by Ron Hogan

paulclayton.jpgPaul Clayton started writing Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam shortly after his return from military service in Vietnam. He spent a decade writing it, but couldn't find a publisher in the mid-'80s, so he put the manuscript aside and wrote more novels. Encouragement from Willie Morris in the late '90s got Clayton thinking about publishing his Vietnam novel again, and the book's path to eventual publication by St. Martin's last summer includes interesting detours through the world of e-books and print-on-demand publishing.

For those who love "great books" and literature, I highly recommend Tobias Wolff's Old SchoolOld School is the story of what perhaps can never be again--an old fashioned, boarding school where love of books, not sports, gets everyone's hearts pounding.  Set in the 1950, Old School is a place where, if you could magically make available to its students all the gadgetry that is the mainstay of modern youth (cell phones, game boys, computers, ipods, etc), they wouldn't be bothered with them, and would look upon anyone who was as a Philistine or a fool.  These are serious students who spend their time reading books, talking and writing about them, and, as special rewards, meeting best-selling, literary writers.  Elements of class and youthful indiscretions drive this story of flawed but honorable characters making their way in a lost age. 
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