Monday, March 07, 2016

What is Jeff Zentner reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King.

His entry begins:
I’m currently writing my third book, the main character is a young women from the Soviet Union who finds herself in New Mexico in the late 1940s. So much of my reading time lately has gone to research for that book. Three of those books I’m currently reading:

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

I’m reading this to see how a European teenager from the 1940s would have talked, joked around, and thought. I somehow graduated from a public American high school without ever having been assigned this book. And I’ve gone all this time without reading it on my own because the recalcitrant former high schooler in me has screamed “No! If they make kids read it in high school it must be boring!” Well, that was silly of me to think that because the other high school classics I only read in adulthood--To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye--are now among my favorite books. And The Diary of a Young Girl will join them. It’s harrowing, beautiful, heartbreaking, and even hilarious at times. It’s unquestionably the most important YA book that has ever existed and it is everything a coming-of-age book should be. I read it with a sickness in the pit of my stomach, knowing how this story ends. But I keep pressing forward, grateful for...[read on]
About The Serpent King, from the publisher:
Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.
Visit Jeff Zentner's website.

Writers Read: Jeff Zentner.

--Marshal Zeringue