by Carmela Ciuraru
Release Date: May 29, 2012 (hardoover released 2011)
Source: sent by publisher
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
Mary Anne Evans. Charles Dodgson. Eric Blair. William Sydney Porter. Or, as they are more commonly remembered, George Eliot, Lewis Carroll, George Orwell, and O. Henry. For these writers and many others, from Mark Twain to Stan Lee to Robert Jordan, the invocation of a "nom de plume "has been an essential part in the creation of an authorial identity. Now, in a captivating series of biographical snapshots exploring the lives of famous authors and their pen names, author Carmela Ciuraru delivers a unique literary history and a penetrating examination of identity, creativity, and self-creation, revisiting the enduring question--what's in a name?
I really enjoy reading non-fiction, as they say-truth is often stranger than fiction. I especially like non-fiction when it's not too dry, and the writer makes the stories come to life. I can definitely say that this book was a quick and fun read. One thing that kept the book moving right along was that it consisted of a different chapter for each different writer. It was almost like reading short stories. Of course, all of the stories were connected by the same theme-the pseudonym, and the duality of self and personality that occurs along with it.
I admit that I was most interested in the stories of favorites of mine, Lewis Carroll and Mark Twain. I learned some new info about both of these writers. I also found most of the other writers' stories very interesting as well. I know a lot of readers will be interested in the Bronte sisters' stories.
For some of the writers, I was very familiar with their work, like George Orwell and O. Henry, but I really didn't know anything about their personal lives. This was a great starting point in learning the bios of many great writers all at once. Another great thing about this book is that now I'm really interested in reading books from some of the authors whose books I haven't read before.
The author has a great way of getting the reader's attention at the start of each chapter with a statement about one of the eccentricities of the upcoming writer. These were fun and a great way to entice the reader into reading the next chapter.
Bottom Line: A great read with lesser known and sometimes scandalous stories about some very influential authors.