A series in which I read books on required reading lists and discuss their merits. Ask anyone in the US to name a book they had to read in school, and they will probably say: To Kill a Mockingbird. Ask them to tell you what it's about, and they will probably mumble something about Scout… Continue reading Year of Required Reading, Part 1: To Kill a Mockingbird
I've been thinking a lot about what to do on this blog. I'm not thrilled about "book reviews," not that I do those often, because there are a million reviews out there for every single book. No matter how good mine are, they won't add much to that noise. I'm also not thrilled with the… Continue reading Let’s Get Experimental
For my second mystery novel of the year, I decided to do Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I know this was a really famous movie when it came out, but somehow I went into this not knowing anything about the plot or mystery at all. I highly recommend this to anyone who can manage it. I… Continue reading Year of Mystery Novels, Part 2: Mystic River
Sorry for the extremely weird question in the title. Gene Wolfe's most famous work is The Book of the New Sun. It is four novels long and follows Severian, a torturer. I've been reading the first one in the series: The Shadow of the Torturer. This post is mostly going to be uninformed musings. I have not… Continue reading Why Would Wolfe Choose a Torturer in New Sun?
Last week I was somewhat disparaging about opening hooks of novels. Today I want to do a thorough analysis of the structure of Chapter 1 of Stephen King's Bag of Bones, because I think it is an example of an opening hook done well. I read enough books on writing and listen to enough podcasts… Continue reading Structural Analysis of Bag of Bones: Chapter 1
I've been reading Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, the second Dresden Files novel. In the middle of a fight with a werewolf, the narrator uses this simile: I was flung back through the air like a piece of popcorn in a sudden wind ... I loved this image at first. It conveyed a vivid image… Continue reading The Difficulty of Invisible Description
Today we're going to look at the prose of J. M. Coetzee. He is a South African writer and is known for his controversial topics. His 1980 work Waiting for the Barbarians is about a town magistrate that takes on disturbing power by preying on the fears of the people about an incumbent attack by… Continue reading Examining Pro’s Prose Part 11