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Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Congratulations to the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

A long span of applause goes out to Anthony Doerr for his book All the Light We Cannot See.

As the saying goes, for winning this prestigious award, the first line of Mr. Doerr’s obituary has been written.

Also, kudos and a hearty slap on the back to those authors who were finalists in the Fiction category for this year.

If you see them out on the street, give a wave and a salute to Richard Ford (Let Me Be Frank With You), Laila Lalami (The Moor’s Account), and Joyce Carol Oates (Lovely, Dark, Deep).

Also, lest I forget, how about a big shout-out to the trio of folks who served on the jury. I’m sure it was no small feat to read through all of the entries to whittle it down to Doerr, Ford, Lalami, and Oates. Drinks all around for Elizabeth Taylor, Alan Cheuse, and David Haynes.

Just so you are aware, next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes so if you have some piece of literature burning in you brain, this would be an excellent time to have it published and then submit it for consideration so that you can say you won a Pulitzer on its centenary.

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Nothing quite like mining the posts of yore when trying to dream up a new thing to ramble on about. Hey, Hollywood does the same thing (see here and here for examples) so I am in good company.

Today’s post harkens back to a 2011 post where I listed off all the books I read in the previous year.

Instead of looking back, I will look forward and tell you what is on tap for me for this year.

ALREADY COMPLETED:
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed. A Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the events and people that led to the Great Depression.

Redshirts by John Scalzi. A brilliant take on the Star Trek trope of how the security folks on an away team (the eponymous redshirts) always get killed. But, it is so much more than that.

CURRENTLY READING:
Becoming Ray Bradbury by Jonathan Eller. I told you that one day I would get around to this book.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Instead of sitting through the movie John Carter of Mars, I thought I would go right to the original source about tales of Barsoom.

ON THE SHELF AND WAITING:
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. Yes, I know it deals with zombies, but since I did sit through the movie starring Brad Pitt, I thought I should read the real book (which is always – with one exception – better than the movie).

The War With Mexico by Justin Smith. Another winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Macroscope by Piers Anthony.

Collision 2012 by Dan Balz. A recounting of the 2012 Obama vs. Romney presidential campaign.

The Run to Chaos Keep by Jack Chalker. The sequel to his The Demons at Rainbow Bridge.

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings. I hope to complete this book about the origins of World War I before this anniversary year is out.

Under the Dome by Stephen King. This one has been on the shelf for quite some time. This may be its year…or next year.

It’s Even Worse Than It Looks by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. Because I want to be even more depressed about that state of American politics than I already am.

Wish me luck and we’ll see how many tomes I can drop off the list.

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It Begins

Since I starting writing this blog, one of my recurring themes has been the manuscript sent to me by my former college roommate, David G. Over the years, I have typed out and published on this page some of the chapters he wrote out describing his wish to commit suicide. The last time I posted anything by David was nearly two years ago when I posted the first part of his Chapter 5.

However, I have not been idle with David’s work.

I have spent the last pair of years (with time off for the move between France and Thailand) editting and typing out David’s work (which I pray is not his last).

While I am not yet 100% complete, I am nearly there and hope to have his completed work out by the end of 2014.

In the meantime, I have signed up with the online publishing website, Booksie, to put what is complete out on the Web.

Today, I put up the first two chapters of Form Your Troika. You can start here.

We’ll see how this experiment goes.

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Happy Birthday and other words of celebration to science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, who turns 91 today.

In other Ray Bradbury news, I was excited to see that Jonathan Eller has written a biography of this author in the book, Becoming Ray Bradbury. This tome is now at the top of my birthday list.

I certainly Amazon doesn’t have a problem shipping to France.

I would also like to this opportunity to share my brush with greatness with the genius behind Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.

I was living in Southern California at the time when it was announced that Mr. Bradbury would be at a mall signing copies of his latest collection of short stories entitled The Toynbee Convector. I had never been to a book signing before but everything that I had seen on television and movies regarding authors and book signings told me that I would have, at most, 60 seconds with this legend.

When my time came to be at the front of the line, I presented my book for Mr. Bradbury to sign and I told him that I had a bet with my friend. My friend said that it was Issac Asimov who appeared in a Stan Freberg commercial for Sunsweet Prunes and I claimed it was Mr. Bradbury.

Mr. Bradbury smiled at me and said, “You win”. He then signed my book with the tagline from that commercial, “Today the pits, tomorrow the wrinkles.

It is a treasure of my collection as it is one of the three signed books I own.

We chatted for a bit and I went far over my allotted sixty seconds. Turns out, Mr. Bradbury, being the nice and lovable man that he is, took the time to exchange a few words with everyone who stopped by to buy his book.

Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury.

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Fashion, I have been told, follows trends. If one powerful design house thinks mint-green will be the color of the year, then all the other houses will follow suit for no one wants to be left behind.

Actually, I have no idea if the above is true, but it serves as a decent opening line to help me arrive to what I want to explore in today’s post: Trends in Literature (or Why Does A Book Have to Be About Someone’s Wife?)

While finishing up my latest edition of Harper’s (August 2011), I looked at the inside of the back cover and saw an advertisement for The Oriental Wife, by Evelyn Toynton. The story looked interesting enough, but what caught my was when I turned the page and saw an ad on the back cover for Amazon’s Kindle that featured a snippet from The Paris Wife: A Novel, by Paual McLain.

(Quick Digression: Why is it that authors feel the need to put the words “A Novel” at the end of their titles? Do they think their readers are not smart enough to know that the book in their hands could be something else. “Hey”, Mr. Reader thinks, “Is this a movie I’m about to buy at this bookstore? Oh, no, it’s a novel. Thank heavens it says so right on the book cover!”)
(Oh, and before you say, “Well, what if the story is a short story and not a novel”, my reply is that anybody should be able tell the difference between a short story and a novel by the weight of the book)
(“Well, what about a novella?”, I hear you ask.)
(My reply is that digression has gone on far too long. Moving on.)

How odd, I mused to myself, that books on consecutive pages both have Wife in the title.

Then I recalled that The Tiger’s Wife, by Tea Obreht, won this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction.

Obreht’s book came out two years after the opening of the movie, based on the 2004 book by Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveller’s Wife.

Of course, there’s also…
The 19th Wife: A Novel (2008) by David Ebershoff;
A Young Wife: A Novel (2011) by Pam Lewis; and
The Spanish Billionarie’s Pregnant Wife (2009) by Lynne Graham just to name a few.

For all this, I blame Sena Jeter Naslund for her 1999 book, Ahab’s Wife: Or, the Star-gazer.

Finally, wouldn’t it be A Novel idea if authors could come up with another trend instead of using “The [Insert Male Character]’s Wife” as a title.

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