2023 Book Fails

A bullseye with arrows missing the target

I have always loved reading for pleasure. And for the most part, I love all the books I read. That’s because I don’t read books I don’t like. I have two—and only two—rules for reading: Outside of an English class, you don’t have to read a book just because someone says it’s good. (There may …read more…

Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules for Novelists

  The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator. Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money. Never use the word then as a conjunction—we have and for this purpose. Substituting then is the lazy or tone-deaf writer’s non-solution to the problem of …read more…

The Pale House Devil by Richard Kadrey

This book was quite a ride! I find that I’m reading slower and slower as I get older, but this is a slim volume (115 pages), and I had set aside a few evenings for reading it. But once I started it, I couldn’t put it down, and 90 minutes later I had finished it, …read more…

The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis

Book cover for The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis

I sometimes wonder if people understand irony. Alanis Morissette wrote a song called “Ironic” in which all of the situations she describes aren’t really ironic. They’re bad timing, bad planning, or just plain bad luck. But irony they ain’t. Francie Driscoll understands irony, though. She’s in Roswell (yes, that Roswell) to save her friend Serena from …read more…

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway bookcover

The “kids at boarding school” trope is not one that the Harry Potter books invented, although they did revitalize it for another generation or two of young readers. As such, most of these stories involve a new resident, for whom the school serves as a type of liminal space. I’ve always enjoyed these types of …read more…

Multicultural Literature Wiki

Group of friends smiling

In what seems like a century ago, I went back to school to get my English degree. My goal was to teach English, which I actually did for a while. I don’t teach any more, largely because the education ecosystem here in Michigan has become increasingly toxic. This is largely due to statewide policies that …read more…

Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling

Stones by water

I found this on Reddit. I’m not sure if the story about Pixar is true, but it’s good storytelling advice, for the most part. Of course, if you need an entire book about good writing advice, I recommend Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story:

Tips for Writing Good Dialogue

Writing good dialogue is not art. It’s craft, which means that you can get better at it. Here are some tips. Listen to how people talk in real life. Hang out in a coffee shop or a bar and listen to how people talk. (As a writer, you get to call this research.) Often, we think …read more…

About the Lit Project

As anyone knows, the cost of college textbooks is sky-high. One of the advantages of being an English major, however, is that you are studying novels and plays that are available relatively inexpensively in paperback. Quite often you can get them used in the college bookstore for slightly under the price of new, or you can …read more…

Currently Reading (2016.06.08) — We Should All Be Feminists

So much of what she says about gender is also true of race. A very accessible introduction to modern feminism.

Published on 8 June 2016 at 08:19
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