Ralph Keyes’ books include The Courage to Write and I Love It When You Talk Retro. He has written for Esquire, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Newsweek, and Harper’s.
His new book is Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms.
Keyes lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he writes, lectures, and is a Trustee of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop.
Recently I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I recently read, and loved Room. By being able to capture the distinctive voice of a unique five-year-old and have him tell a riveting story Emma Donoghue has created a literary tour de force. Winter’s Bone is another captivating novel, especially when the author lets his Ozark characters tell their story in their own voice. (When he describes the terrain in elaborate language apparently meant to impress fellow alums of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Daniel Woodrell’s book lags.) I just finished Amos Oz’s memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness which has moments of great insight and some powerfully written passages, but overall is twice too long. Oz never uses one word when ten will do. The writer whose work I’ve most admired in recent years is Richard Russo, especially his novels set in declining towns (Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool, Bridge of Sighs, etc.) Russo gets you to care deeply about his woebegone characters, no mean feat. He also can be drop-dead funny.