First Coast Connect & JPL Book Club: The Editor’s Role

fcc_book_club_logo_02_FINALThis Book Discussion aired July 12 on WJCT FM First Coast Connect, but you won’t miss a thing!
Click here to read the WJCT transcript of the book discussion or listen to the entire show. And send in your comments.

Good writing is about collaboration.

The books that sit on the shelves of our libraries are the result of a group effort. A trusting pact between writer and the editor.

Consider this literary juxtaposition: Try reading with an appreciation of the silent partner, the editor. What is painstakingly omitted, massaged and rearranged allow for the reader to understand a story with its best clarity and presentation.

Perhaps you’ve seen the film Genius starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. I’m flummoxxed and thrilled that the story of Maxwell Perkins has finally made it to the cinema. Thrilled because I love literature, so Genius is a gimme. Incredibly miffed because it is woefully miscast.

What’s a book lover to do?

Go to the library and check out the wonderful canon of literature that stand as Maxwell Perkins’ legacy. Known as an “author’s editor,” Maxwell Perkins is responsible for discovering F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. Perkins took Look Homeward Angel and trimmed a whopping 80,000 words from the original manuscript, O Lost. Not an easy task when your author is married to every single word.

Maxwell Perkins was humble, courteous and detailed oriented. He was able to glean and weave and nurture authors and their prose. Not only an advocate, Perkins was a true friend and an honest critic. Thanks to Perkins we have The Great Gatsby!

Read this league of authors and be aware of the great collaborative magic that happens within the pages of these writers’ works. An author gets the glory. It is time for the editor to get his due.

Perkins’ authors for your consideration:

Scott Fitzgerald
Ernest Hemingway
Thomas Wolfe
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Erskine Caldwell
Alan Paton
J.P. Maquand
James Jones

For an excellent biography of Perkins try: A. Scott Berg’s Max Perkins: Editor of Genius

Do you have a Perkins’ favorite? Let me know!

Stacey Goldring
Stacey Goldring

Participating in the First Coast Connect Book Club is easy!

You can check out copies of books discussed on the show at any Jacksonville Public Library, or purchase copies at the Book Nook or Chamblin’s. Mention you’re with the First Coast Connect Book Club to get a discount.

Tell us what you think you think of the book:

  • Did you like it?
  • Why or why not?
  • What questions do you have?
  • Would you read another book by the same author?
  • Did the book trigger any emotions? Memories? Ideas? Please share these with us.

Send your questions, thoughts, and observations to bookclub@wjct.org.

You may also find these authors in the library’s digital collection.

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