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Showing posts from March, 2014

The Tuesday Morning Book Review: The Riviera Contract by Arthur Kerns.

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I have been reading thrillers for years, ever since my mom's friend Betty Gralton gave me an old copy of Alistair Mac Lean's Fear is the Key. In the subsequent 40 years I have read hundreds and hundreds, in every sub-genre from historical to Eco, political to medical, religious to international. In the process, one picks up a few things about the genre: the plots, the settings, the dialogue, and, especially, the main characters. Fleming's Bond and LeCarre's Smiley have been oft referenced--guilty--and so I will leave then out, but the usual MC is often very predictable, a talented (plug-in ex-Navy Seal, NSA agent, Federal Marshal etc.) forced out of service because of a (plug-in alcohol problem, bad relationship, horrific experience) is forced back into service to save the life of his (plug-in red-headed, blonde, brunette) ex-wife, who he (wait for it) still loves. You've read that one too? But it's a formula that works: the previous career gives the MC

3 reasons why the novel is more imortant than ever, On the Saturday Evening blogPost, edition #17

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The novel is not the exclusive domain of good writing; I have seen well-written words on tweets, blog posts, pins, bathroom walls, carved into the bark of beech trees, and scrawled on bits of used envelopes. But there is something about the novel--something we are losing. Consider this quote from English teacher extraordinaire and novelist Conrad Tuerk: ...as a high school English teacher, I have seen firsthand (social media's) insidious effects on today's youth.  Not only are their language skills poor, but they lack the attention spans to sit quietly with a novel and ponder its depths.  The same point you make about the novel can be made for long form journalism.  It gives substance to short news bytes and allows for critical investigation. Depth, substance, richness: These are just three of the attributes of the novel. I suspect you will be able to build that list from your own experience as a novel reader; allow me to add from mine. Consider the following thre

Why the novel has never been more important: The Saturday Evening Blog Post, Edition #16.

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We live in a day and age where the evolution of language and words is driven more by social media than books and novels. As both a social media user and a lover of literature old and new, I have mixed feelings about this trend. There is something about the speed of social media which alarms me. Consider this: Edgar Poe, who created the thriller, died broke and without any acclaim, and yet his works are now considered to be masterpieces. Contrast this to the blitzkrieg world of social media where someone who uploads a cat video can become an icon in a single day--or less. Good or bad? Probably both, but allow me to point out the latter. Poe had substance. Sometimes it takes time for substance to be appreciated. In Poe's case, a hundred years. It takes deep substance to endure a 100 years. Do you think a glitzy cat video has that kind of staying power? Or do you--like me--think it will be forgotten in ten minutes, to be replaced by a meme featuring an aardvark? The point I