Pacific Literary Arts : Reading
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Jean Honore Fragonard, The Reader

And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's aunt, Miss Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said: "Would you like anything to read?"

                        -- Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales

The Joy of Reading
The delicate art of reading. I like reading. It's easy, free and rather difficult to screw up. And you can do it in bed or at the beach, a rare thing in the world of productive activity.

Good editors are great readers; writers too I guess, but editors even more so. Have read a lot in all fields, fiction and non-fiction. Thoroughly familiar with the world's literature, ancient and modern, east, west and otherwise.

I can do a reading and assessment of something without it involving editing, although normally that comes with it. Evaluate it from the reader's perspective, how it reads, if the writer's intention gets through.

I know what I like, not sure I know what would sell. Can definitely recognize good writing.

Reading selections on this site:

Ernest Hemingway, The Moveable Feast, selection.

Charles Dickens, "Captain Murderer", short story.

Mark Twain, thoughts on writing.

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Berthe Morisot, Two Women Reading

Reading Recommendations
These are some writers and books I've encountered that others might find of interest. The ones that stick in my my mind, the ones I reread.

These pages have photos of some of my favorite writers, all of them worth exploring:

Old Favorites     Women Writers


Letters of Vincent van Gogh. Much more than art, profound insights into human nature. I've read a lot of books on art and this is the only one I keep going back to. Smart man Vincent.

Sean O'Casey. Autobiographies. His plays get all the attention, but these are wonderful. Six volumes, over a hundred different vignettes from a master writer. Extraordinary portrait of a life and times. Available in numerous editions, some combining several of the volumes.

History is my favorite subject, especially biography, especially authobiography. My favorite American historian is Studs Terkel, authentic and worth re-reading, he lets people tell their own story. If you want to study 20th century American history, start here.

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. An essential work in American history, possibly the first great one, and a portrait of a truly extraordinary man. There are thinkers and doers; very few combine the two like Franklin did.

All God's Dangers: The Autobiography of Nate Shaw by Theodore Rosengarten is a classic slice of Americana, history and culture, captures the experience of the American dirt and mule farmer.


Cities of the Interior by Anais Nin. "Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, The Four-Chambered Heart, A Spy in the House of Love, Seduction of the Minotaur. Haunting and hypnotic, these five novels by Anais Nin began in 1946 to appear in quiet succession. Though published separately over the next fifteen years, the five were conceived as a continuous experience—a continuous novel like Proust's, real and flowing as a river." Rather extraordinary journey through the lives of women.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I like this book.

Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.

Dune by Frank Herbert.

Web Reading Suggestions
Infinite reading on the web. Good Reads has suggestions. Here are a few discoveries of mine.

Youtube has audio books, zillions of them in every known language. Reddit list    Good Reads list

The venerable Bartleby's has a host of classic reading available online. Some serious stuff, including the complete Harvard Classics, and much more. Many wonderful old reference works.

Ladies might enjoy the charming Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

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Client Reviews
Mike worked very hard to edit my book. He is an honest and professional person who is easy to deal with and will follow through to the very end to make sure you are happy and content with the finished product. He made excellent suggestions and was always willing to correspond with me throughout the whole process. I will be very happy for him to edit my new book. Thanks Mike.

This is the first time I've had any work done by Michael Presky, and it certainly won't be the last. His editing was clean and concise, as he worked actively to preserve the author's voice while making it as smooth as possible for the reader. He was fast and thorough, and his services were not extravagantly priced. Excelsior!

Thomas B., Author

Mike just finished editing my dissertation, a job that I dramatically underestimated! Running short on time, and drained from the typical dissertation runaround, I finally sought help in getting through editing and formatting. Mike worked so hard for me, finding more errors than I care to admit! He did a fantastic job with my reference list, which was improperly formatted, and often missing the doi for my articles. He cross checked his work with the guidelines from my school (Capella University), and worked to ensure he had things formatted to their specifications.

Communication with Mike was smooth and easy from the get go. He responded to all my emails very quickly, usually within hours, but not longer than a day. He even worked on the weekend to get my edits completed for me! There were a few points when we needed to make some additional changes, and all that was accomplished seamlessly.

Mike finished his work for me in a short period of time and for a very reasonable price.

Most importantly, once Mike was through with his edits, my dissertation was approved with no further edits needed!

I whole-heartedly recommend Mike for anyone looking for an honest, hard-working, easy going, meticulous editor. A million thanks to you, Mike!

Julie H., March 1, 2015

Mike is very engaging, responsive, very smart and opinionated, and overall great to work with!

Ramesh S., May 16, 2014 Prompt, perceptive, and possessing a keen eye, Michael was a great editor to work with. His edits on my manuscript At the End (to be published by Permuted Press), gave me a whole new perspective for the piece, with apt corrections and suggestions, he improved the grammar, smoothed out the plot, and really polished it up for publication. Email correspondence was great, and he answered--in detail--an entire laundry list of concerns I had with the pre-edited manuscript. I don't know about other fields, having only worked with him in science fiction, but for the genre I definitely recommend him as a choice editor.

John Hennessy
Author of At the End (The Road to Extinction, Book 1); Life Descending (The Cry of Havoc, Book 1), Darkness Devouring (The Cry of Havoc, Book 2)

Thank you so much for your help in editing. Thank you for your excellent work.

Walter P., May 31, 2013

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Jules Verne

Pacific Literary Arts
Michael Presky
presky @ yahoo dot com
310 384 0590 : voice or text

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