Oh, the Difference!

  According to a number of studies, men tend to prefer reading non-fiction and women fiction. Why is that? I’m treading on dangerous turf in genderizing reading habits, but here goes. Despite the advances women have made world-wide in social issues, politics, and the job market, it remains a men’s world – for the time…

Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar

Take heart, dear writer. You’ve worked for a year, perhaps more, writing that novel, and by the saints, you landed a publisher! Here’s the book lying beautifully in your hand. But what to do now? This dilemma confronts many writers like you, and that includes yours truly. Asheville is a hard place to summon some…

The Nine Lives of Literature

  If you were to GOOGLE “Is literature dead?” you would find that question asked in quite a few forums. The consensus? No, literature is NOT dead, and the authors of the question give many reasons. Literature, while there is the ancient Aristotlean idea of conflict-rising action-climax-denouement, or falling action, the art form has proven…

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

NOTE: I wrote this little essay for the local paper, sure that they would make a big fuss over it and publish it. As high hopes sometimes go, they ignored it altogether and functionally refused to publish. So I’m sharing it here. It was 1967, I remember, and I was all but trembling with The…

It’s not just me. I’m not being unnecessarily curmudgeon-y, if you please. I’ve long been bemoaning the abandonment of story – even the implied story – in literary fiction, but there are larger voices than mine saying it now. A recent article in Britain’s New Statesman, wonders at the dwindling of literary fiction among readers….

Taming Literacy in This Age

Is the novel dead? Why do the remaining book readers today prefer nonfiction to fiction? When I had been working as an engineer for some 6-7 years, the Chief Structural Engineer called me in and said, “Bob, I need you to write a letter for me.” What he meant was a scolding letter to a…

Consultation No. 5 – With Virginia Woolf

We had a rare opportunity recently to talk with Virginia Woolf, and so I had my staff look into her personal history. My God! It’s a wonder the woman could write at all. We were advised by her latest agent to go easy on that in conversation, but she proved as open as anyone we’ve…