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Read like a writer: Lee Upton shares favorite books and writing tips

TheTaoOfHumiliation_Bookstore In a piece published by We Wanted to Be Writers, Lee Upton (The Tao of Humiliation), reveals her current list of late night reading material, which includes everything from essays by Margaret Atwood to gardening books by George Schenk. A writer with insightful reading advice, Upton's nightstand stash is the result of her bedside reading manner: "I confess that my bedside reading is not like the other reading I do in the house," says Upton. "The reason is simple: I am a susceptible reader right before bed, when I feel most porous and undefended. And so the books by my bed have, for the most part, a peculiar quality-- they tend to be more otherworldly and dreamlike than other books I enjoy." (Click here to see the complete list of "Books by Lee Upton's Bed." ) Upton's latest collection of stories is a remarkable reflection of her eclectic nocturnal literary intake and has made the We Wanted To Be Writers list of "Cool and Sizzling Summer Reads." "Even without the dynamite title, Lee Upton's story collection The Tao of Humiliation is loaded with so many wonderful characters it would be hard to ignore. Lee's been compared to everyone from Grace Paley and Edith Pearlman to M. C. Escher and Borges!" But there is more that drives Upton's fiction than the inspiration she receives from reading. In an interview with The Story Prize (for which The Tao of Humiliation has been nominated), Upton cites "abandoned houses," "orchards," and "the ocean," among other things, as muses for her writing. Perhaps summer is the perfect time to visit some of these places with a pen, paper, and a good collection of stories in hand. (Click here to read the complete interview with The Story Prize, "Lee Upton Breaks the Ice.") In the meantime, read this excerpt from The Tao of Humiliation. It may help determine whether Upton's new book belongs by the bedside or poolside this summer. The Tao of Humiliation is available for purchase at the BOA Bookstore.
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