Oral Tales Written and Human Lives Easily Broken

As much as I love the literature of our United States and its writers, I’ve slowly come to appreciate fine writing from other countries. While much of such writing is influenced by U.S. writers, there’s still much to learn from these bits of “foreign” fiction and nonfiction, the uniqueness of these writers’ lives, their stylistic originality,…

The Transformational Nature of Literature

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt   Imagine a book written in the twenty-first century with pen and pencil in notebooks, work on the novel taking place over ten years. What would such a book be like? How long would it be? What impact would it have on readers? Judging by sales charts in the New…

Teamwork Tells the Tale

Empire on the Platte, by Richard Crabb   If this post’s title confuses or leads astray, I’m sorry. Nebraskan Burt Sell, a home-grown historian, provided much of author Crabb’s fodder for this book, by the author’s admission information important to the tale. And a great tale it is. We first follow the lives of the…

To Hustle or Not

Curiosity brought the missus and me to the ticket window this past weekend to see American Hustle, and I admit I went in with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I’d seen the previews so many times I could recite them, and I’d grown wary of good actors shouting their lines, and satirizing…

Vulnerability and Glamour, Past and Present

  Sutton, by J. R. Moehringer   Well, well. A Pulitzer-winning journalist that writes excellent historical fiction. One of the things that draws writers to historical fiction is a compulsion to fill in the unknown/unknowable gaps about events or characters and make the made-up gap fillers seem right in keeping with the known. But I…

Real life Made Personal

This particular issue (Lee Gutkind, the editor, usually assigns a theme to each issue and advertises it several months ahead) deals with the subject of true crime, even with the ethics of writing about crime. Why ethics, you ask? The issue’s roundtable discussion on the subject deals with that circuitously, but a lot of the concern has to do with romanticizing criminal acts.

A Novel Hanging by Many Threads

It begins with an Irish man looking for his brother in New York, the brother some sort of sidewalk saint, who, well, does what he can for the down and out. In and out of this story walk many characters: several hookers, some office workers, a Guatemalan nurse, a judge, and a high-wire daredevil, to name a few.