Books of the Year

It's time for those yearly retrospectives – and one kind I always find interesting is the books of the year. So I'm wondering…what's your favorite read of 2010?  It doesn't have to be high-minded and literary – it can be a favorite genre novel.


My favorites?

Fiction: Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes – I've long since posted on this, but Marlantes' book is already held up as a that's-the-way-it-was story on Vietnam, and the author knows how to make you turn the page.

Non-fiction: Just Kids, by Patti Smith – For anyone who followed the 60s-70s culture – whether you were there or not – this book has great appeal. I'll post on it soon.


I'll probably be off-line for a few days – a medical issue for the surgeon to tend to. See you soon.


Fiction’s Points Of View

Yesterday, the missus grilled me about the differences in current American fiction and British fiction. Just our way of having a stimulating chat, you know? I've read a lot of domestic and British fiction over the past couple of years, and having been asked the question, here's what I've noted:


Irish fiction seems to be predominantly first person writing, i.e., you're living within the skin of the narrator, who is also an actor in the story.

American fiction, while diverse, tends toward a third person point of view – but a POV that follows a character almost as closely as first person.

English fiction, at least the authors I've read, tend toward a third person that resembles nineteenth century fiction. In this take, the narrator is much less transparent, almost a character in the story. 

MFA vs. NYC: America now has two distinct literary cultures. Which one will last? – By Chad Harbach – Slate Magazine

This excellent article details the MFA's place in creative writing and publishing and implies much of what's been said in Gridley Fires about the challenges of publishing in the modern environment.


The following article is excerpted from the latest issue of n+1 magazine. This article is available online only in Slate, but click here to purchase the new issue of n+1 in print.



Description Is Prescription –

An interesting perspective on one of the world's greatest writers from an odd source.


There are many reasons to think about Tolstoy on the centennial of his death. Among them: his ability to see. Tolstoy had an almost superhuman ability to perceive reality.


An interesting perspective on one of the world's greatest writers from an odd source.

Breakfast With Pandora and The Blue Bicycle

I'm very excited and gratified that writing pal and book reviewer David Frauenfelder has chosen to review my e-book, The Blue Bicycle, on his blog, Breakfast With Pandora. That he's chosen to say kind things is gravy, but I'm happy with that, too.

My second reason for posting this is to underscore David's offer to review e-books. Details are at the end of his post. 

Oh, and by the way, by year's end, there'll be a print version of The Blue Bicycle out for those of you who steer want to steer clear of the electronic paradigm. More on that in a couple of weeks.

Hear Patti Smith Read From ‘Just Kids’ : Monkey See : NPR

After I waxed cynical about Patti Smith's book, Just Kids, I remembered that such cynicism has often come back to me as a lesson learned, so I've just bought the book and am in the progress of reading it.

More on that later, but publishing this link, which includes a reading from the book by Patti, may help me atone for pre-judging the book.


Singer Patti Smith performs during Theatre Within's 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert Benefitting the Playing For Change Foundation at the Beacon Theatre on November 12, 2010 in New York, City. Last night, she read from her book Just Kids, which is nominated for a National Book Award.