Russell Banks

Add a comment with your reflections on this author.

14 comments:

Molly (Brown) said...

Molly (Brown)
I would definitely recommend Russell Banks. His books are about horrible and often tragic events and how they impact the people involved. There is usually some form of sexual abuse, as well as death or murder. Although his books are dark and serious, I really liked them because I never got bored. I read Rule of the Bone, The Sweet Hereafter, and The Reserve, and I liked all of them. The twists and surprises Banks included always kept me interesting and wanting to read. The books were not too long, and I could always understand what was going on in them.

Samantha (Brown) said...

If you enjoy darker, more serious books, I would recommend choosing Russell Banks for Author Thesis. His novels go into depth on themes such as isolation, drugs and alcohol, crime, and parent to children relationships. Most of his novels started out slow but the plot gradually picked up. The plot within the novels and Banks’ views on society were fascinating. His writing was modern and easier for me to read than authors such as William Faulkner. I read Lost Memory of Skin, Affliction, Trailerpark, The Sweet Hereafter, Rule of the Bone and The Reserve. I found it difficult to connect The Reserve with the other novels, because it was a flighty romance novel, and thus did not include it in my final paper. On the other hand, the others were thematically similar and made it easy to make connections.

Peter (Anderson) said...

I chose Russell Banks because his books seemed interesting and appeared as if they had relevant themes that could be used to compose a paper. I read were Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Rule of the Bone, Success Stories and A Permanent Member of the Family. The books in general were not lengthy and featured themes that were easy to decipher. Success Stories and A Permanent Member of the Family were difficult to write about because they were books of short stories. I often times ran out of quotations that supported my ideas because the story was only 20 pages long. If I had to do author thesis again I would not read short stories. Overall, I would recommend Banks for the author thesis project because of the interesting plots in his novels as well as the easily deciphered themes.

Deeth (Brazier) said...

Russell Banks
I chose Russell Banks because he writes about intense themes including family abuse, rape, and murder. I read The Reserve, Rule of the Bone, Affliction, Lost Memory of Skin, The Sweet Hereafter, and Continental Drift. The books were relatively easy to read. Writing was also easy because the themes are so strong. I would recommend Russell Banks for this project because he writes interesting books so you are not dreading to read every night. However if you do choose Russell Banks I suggest that you do not read The Reserve, or The Sweet Hereafter. I thought the Reserve was not good and struggled to read it unlike the other books and although I liked The Sweet Hereafter it was an outlier compared to the other books.

Kieva (Anderson) said...

I really enjoyed reading Banks’ writing. He is a very good choice for author thesis, because his themes become clearer the more books you read. I would definitely recommend The Sweet Hereafter, Lost Memory of Skin, and Rule of the Bone. The theme of power in these books was very interesting to observe, and although Banks explores some dark topics, his choice of perspective is definitely something to pay attention to. The books I read ranged from 250 – 400 pages, and although they are not too long I would definitely recommend creating a reading schedule to plan your time well in order to give yourself time to really delve into his meanings. One book I would stay away from is Continental Drift, despite being one of his more popular works. I found that it dragged on, and was difficult to connect to my thesis. Aside from this book, however, I would recommend Russell Banks for author thesis.

Jenny (Anderson) said...

I chose Russell Banks as my author because of the mixed variations of books he writes. I read Continental Drift, The Sweet Hereafter, Rule of the Bone, Lost Memory of Skin, Book of Jamaica, and Affliction. All my books connected well, except if you only have to read three or four books I would recommend not reading Affliction or The Sweet Hereafter. The books were easy to read and they were very entertaining. It was pretty easy to write about Russell Banks’ works because they connect well to each other with many similar themes. I would recommend Russell Banks because all his books are very interesting and they all take place with different scenarios, yet they connect. One useful strategy while reading Russell Banks’ books is to keep track of how the characters view their living situation. Also, most of Russell Banks’ books are about 350 pages.

Anonymous said...

Emily (Maxwell)
I chose Russell Banks because he writes about controversial topics like abuse, power, and loneliness in a realistic way. I read the books Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, Rule of the Bone, Continental Drift, and Lost Memory of Skin. The themes were easy to connect, with the exception of The Sweet Hereafter (which dealt with how people react with loss), but it was nevertheless one of my favorites due to its realistic character development and beautiful writing style. Russell Banks does a great job writing characters who are very human; they have their flaws and struggle with issues such as abuse, divorce, drug abuse, and death. The books were engaging and I didn't want to put them down. His books are a great way to understand the outsiders of society and how people react to traumatic events. I would advise taking good notes, as there are a lot of overlapping themes.

Isabelle Hartnett (Maxwell) said...

I decided on Russell Banks for my author thesis because he writes about very difficult and intriguing topics. Even though some people find his novels difficult to read, I believe Banks’s integration of controversial topics make his novels immensely fascinating. One of my favorite things about Banks’s writing style is that he is able to follow all of the thoughts and concerns of his characters in a very intense light. The books I read included, Rule of the Bone, The Sweet Hereafter, Lost Memory of Skin, Affliction, and Success Stories. I found that the order in which I read the books played an important role in the construction of my thesis because my ideas started to cumulate from that first book I read. I ended up using all of the books I read for my paper because all the themes in the novels overlapped in a different way. I recommend taking extensive notes about the main characters.

Kate(McCarthy said...

Kate(McCarthy)
I chose Russell because he writes about very difficult topics to read about. My two books were Lost Memory of Skin, and The Sweet Hereafter. The one thing that I really admire about Russell Banks is that in many of his books he chooses to write the story in the point of view of someone that the public doesnt approve of. Banks makes the reader try and understand all sides of a story and he bends the line between protagonist and antagonist. For me I found it very difficult at first to find a real connection between the books. The themes that connected mine were not very obvious and I had to really analysis the book in order for me to find a connecting theme. If you choose Russell Banks, i suggest that you take a lot of notes because even the small themes might be very important.

Anonymous said...

Emily Conners (Maxwell)
I chose to read Russell Banks because of his intriguing writing style. He writes about controversial topics from the perspective of outcasts in society. I found the themes he writes about in his books interesting because they are real-world problems that many people struggle with. I read A Lost Memory of Skin, Affliction, and A Sweet Hereafter. Some recurring themes I noticed were isolation, parent-child relationships, abuse, crime, identity, and loneliness. A Lost Memory of Skin and Affliction had many of the same themes, while A Sweet Hereafter did not connect very well. I enjoyed reading all of my books, and I found that the books captivated my attention, and never left me bored. I would recommend Russell Banks for American Author Thesis if you are looking for interesting books with real world themes. Additionally, I would recommend that you take careful notes of all of themes, and main character development. I found my notes very helpful when writing my final paper.

CarolynHale said...

Russell Banks' books are filled with dark and tragic themes carefully presented through straightforward language. I read Cloudsplitter, Rule of the Bone, and The Sweet Hereafter. These books were of varying length and from different time periods, but all three had clear themes throughout. The plot of these books were engaging and interesting, with rarely a dull moment even in lengthy Cloudsplitter. In all of Banks' books, the characters and their personalities drive the novels, their pasts always intertwining and affecting the future. I recommend taking a lot of notes and planning your time wisely, or you might run into trouble fully analyzing the themes. I highly recommend Russell Banks for Author Thesis if you enjoy reading books with more serious themes.

Giselle Garcia said...

I chose Russell Banks because he writes about difficult topics that many authors steer away from. His books describe the stories and lives of people that are often looked down on in society, regardless of what may have caused their situation. Although the reader will not necessarily end up sympathizing with the characters, his writing gives insight on their struggles. The books I read were The Sweet Hereafter, Lost Memory of Skin, and Rule of the Bone. Many people claim that The Sweet Hereafter does not connect to his other books, however they all have an underlying theme, even if the stories are vastly different. I recommend writing down quotes while reading that could possibly connect to a theme, because after reading every book, having many quotes will be essential to realizing the theme you choose to focus on.

Drew M (Maxwell) said...


If you can handle the dark and somewhat disturbing themes of his book, I would definitely recommend writing about the works of Russell Banks for your Author Thesis. The three books I read were The Sweet Hereafter, Continental Drift, and Affliction. At first, the three books might seem hard to connect but upon closer inspection, it can be observed that they share underlying themes, as all the books deal with different kinds of tragedies. Even though I was able to find connections between all three books, I found that Continental Drift was hardest to relate to my overarching theme, so I might recommend choosing a different book. If you do choose to use the works of Russell Banks, I would highly recommend constantly taking notes on significant passages and analyzing them as you read. This will help you form a clear idea for you paper and make the writing process much easier. It might seem tedious at first, but it will be worth it in the end.

Kate Weinberg said...

When we were asked to pick our authors for this assignment I initially started to look through books that involved subjects I usually read. Nothing was standing out to me until I picked Rule of the Bone off the shelf. I read the first page and was immediately drawn in. The language, themes and issues brought about in his books sparked an immediate interest in me because they were unlike any I had read before. I read Rule of the Bone, Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter. His writing revolves around abuse, family, outsiders, and learning how to cope with intense problems. One of my favorite parts about all of these books were the narrators. Each story was told through the eyes of one or multiple characters which were unique and interesting aspects that kept me hooked to the plots. Although certain books were harder to relate to each other, if you take good notes and focus on writing thorough notecards about specific quotations you will have no problem connecting them. Overall, I would recommend this book to someone who is trying to read about something new and exciting.

American Author Thesis

Now that you have written your essay, we ask that you reflect on the reading portion of the experience and write 100-150 words about your author.

Think of what you write as advice for someone next year and beyond, someone who (like you were doing last fall) is thinking about choosing your author - and maybe even the same three books - to read for the assignment.