Why? You will love his characters because they react believably to high suspense. How do you go from a story about a small town in Texas (The Last Picture Show) to the sprawling epic of Lonesome Dove? Because McMurtry sells his characters. He puts you in their heads on cattle drives or playing pool in […]
Read more "Authors you should read: Larry McMurtry"
Why? Optimism, high energy, succinct but compelling character descriptions. Hubbard wrote two dozen novels and hundreds of short stories. The bulk of this output came in just a seven year span in the 1930s. Sometimes it seem that the only place for optimism in fiction is middle grade books (8-12 yrs), romance, and westerns from […]
Read more "Authors you should read: L. Ron Hubbard"
Basic plot: The world is taken over by bad guys and the good guys are oppressed. This has been used in about a million movies and novels. Road Warrior, Star Wars, Running Man, 1984, A Clockwork Orange, and on and on. How is it portrayed? What is the author’s intention? Compare two books: Battlefield Earth […]
Read more "Intention: part 3, how it shapes story."
The recent Bio-movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, is about redemption. A great artist turns against his friends and wastes his talent. These things could have been the theme of the movie. Instead, the producers intended to make a movie to lift the spirit by highlighting the inspirational ending to Freddie Mercury’s life. I didn’t want the movie […]
Read more "Intention of a story, Part 2"
In the last fifteen years, a number of movie franchises have had sadism as their subjects. Hostel, Saw, and others of that ilk. The production values are high. They are well directed and acted. So there is a lot of quality in these movies that lures an audience. But what message do they intend to […]
Read more "Intention carries the story"
This may be the most beautiful book I ever read. It is sad, compelling, funny, and suspenseful. Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Christians lived in peace in this paradise for many years. How did it all start to unravel? The locale is one of the prime players in this book. But the other characters are fascinating […]
Read more "Books that make an impact: Shalimar the Clown, Salman Rushdie"
Classics are wordy and deal with complicated concepts. If we haven’t gone to graduate school for literature, what right do you and I have to interpret them and judge them? Bullshit, Hemmingway might have said to that. The Old Man and the Sea is a simple story about a poor, aging Cuban fisherman who has […]
Read more "Great Books: Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemmingway"
Harriet Jacobs wrote her story under a pseudonym because she feared recapture by her former masters. Hers is one of the few slave narratives that exist from women. She was tough as nails and should be an inspiration to all Americans. Hell, she inspired me. To escape, this woman hid for 7 years in her […]
Read more "Great Books: Linda Brent, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"
All of our American high school students should read Douglass’s autobiography. He was a tremendous spirit who refused to be humbled. He championed rights for African Americans but also for all people. He was a man of wisdom, a renowned orator, politician, and a man of peace. How did he start out in bondage and […]
Read more "Fredrick Douglass: A Great Man tells his story."
Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote in 1605. It is considered the first modern novel. Some call it the greatest novel of all time. If you use the term, don’t go chasing windmills, you are referring to this book. It tells a story about hope used as weapons against a morally deteriorating, cynical world. Main […]
Read more "Novels that changed the world: Don Quixote"