A writer writes, right? If you’re going to be a writer (or better yet, an author), you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Want to write a novel? You need some idea of how many words you need to put on the page. As John Knowles wrote in A Separate Peace, “There was no harm in taking aim, even if the target was a dream.”
What follows is a list of fairly well-known books and word counts, from least to most. Some are classics, others are more recent productions. Make of it what you will.
|George Orwell||Animal Farm||29,060|
|John Steinbeck||Of Mice and Men||29,572|
|Ray Bradbury||Fahrenheit 451||46,118|
|F Scott Fitzgerald||The Great Gatsby||47,094|
|John Knowles||A Separate Peace||56,787|
|William Golding||Lord of the Flies||59,900|
|Nathaniel Hawthorne||The Scarlet Letter||63,604|
|Aldous Huxley||Brave New World||63,766|
|Alice Walker||The Color Purple||66,556|
|John Green||The Fault in Our Stars||67,203|
|John Green||Looking for Alaska||69,023|
|Mark Twain||The Adventures of Tom Sawyer||69,066|
|JK Rowling||Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone||77,508|
|Ransom Riggs||Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children||84,898|
|Rick Riordan||The Lightning Thief||87,223|
|George Orwell||Nineteen Eighty-Four||88,942|
|Harper Lee||To Kill a Mockingbird||100,388|
|Mark Twain||The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn||109,571|
|Henry David Thoreau||Walden||114,634|
|Charles Dickens||A Tale of Two Cities||135,420|
|Stephen King||Pet Sematary||141,912|
|John Steinbeck||The Grapes of Wrath||169,481|
|JK Rowling||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows||198,227|
|JK Rowling||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||257,154|
Field of Fantasies: Baseball Stories of the Strange and Supernatural
edited by Rick Wilber
Night Shade Books, 2014
Baseball is an important part of America’s imagination. Some of the most popular baseball tales weave fact with fiction, presenting historical figures in a fictitious settings, and vice versa. Field of Fantasies, an anthology edited by Rick Wilber, presents twenty-three supernatural baseball stories culled from the past seven decades and includes a handful that appear for the first time in print.
A number of literary heavyweights are included in this collection, from Jack Kerouac to W.P. Kinsella to Ray Bradbury. The modern-day master of horror himself, Stephen King, co-wrote a story with Stewart O’Nan called “A Face in the Crowd” that was previously only available digitally. Bradbury’s “Ahab At The Helm” marries Moby Dick with the classic poem “Casey At The Bat” in a brilliant mash-up. Casey also appears in Robert Coover’s “McDuff on the Mound,” a re-telling of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem from the pitcher’s perspective.
Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling also wrote a story entitled “The Mighty Casey,” but it has nothing to do with the Mudville legend. The story originally aired on the program in 1960, and was re-written for Serling’s Stories From The Twilight Zone anthology prior to its inclusion here.
Most baseball fans are familiar with W.P. Kinsella as the inspiration for the Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. The short story here, “How I Got My Nickname,” follows the exploits of a teenager who plays for the New York Giants during the pennant stretch of 1951, and his debates with teammates and opponents about whether The Great Gatsby is an allegory.
The editor, Rick Wilber, is a journalism professor at the University of South Florida, and his father Del Wilber played for the Cardinals, Phillies, and Red Sox in the 1940s and 1950s. This book is a great tribute to the game and provides some comfort to those who just can’t wait for the season to begin in April.
How long has it been since you wrote a story where your real love or your real hatred somehow got onto the paper? When was the last time you dared release a cherished prejudice so it slammed the page like a lightning bolt? What are the best thins and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting about them?