Monthly Archives: July 2014

Faux reviews: No help reviews, part two

Here are the first four paragraphs of the novel Last Autumn by Jeff Conine (not the baseball player): “Jake jerked up from his deep, dreamless stupor with an urgent sadism. Wide-eyed, his sweat-matted head eased a slow retreat onto the … Continue reading

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Book Reviews that are no help

“I hated it. … His stories are brutal, man. They make me want to kill myself.” This easily represents the typical one-star review on Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere. I borrowed it from the terrific screenplay adaptation of Michael Chabon’s novel, … Continue reading

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Writing quality

In my previous post, I presented a couple of examples of efficient writing, books that I would rate a 9 or 10 in that regard. Today I’m going to provide examples of writing quality, a couple that would rate 9 … Continue reading

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Passions/prejudices/preferences

The ideal novel for me is efficient (if the author goes beyond 333 pages or so, there must be good reasons (scope and complexity of story, etc.) for doing so, well-written, believable, compelling (meaning not requiring a Herculean effort either … Continue reading

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Modern classics, from A to Z

My first modern classic recommendation, published in 1956, as lyrical as ever, A Death in the Family by James Agee. It opens: “Knoxville: Summer, 1915 “We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time that I … Continue reading

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Genre jumble, part two

Novels never termed “literary fiction” occasionally become “classics,” and “classics” are regarded as “literature,” and everyone ends up confused. But confusion can provide an opportunity for finding clarity. So here goes. “Classics” are novels that achieve substantial sustained readership over … Continue reading

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Junk food and junk fiction

Laura is a character in my novel, Double Feature Boy. She manages a restaurant west of Charlottesville, Virginia and tends the bar. She’s in her early thirties, and is the mother of a son and a daughter. She’s separated from … Continue reading

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