Archives for Books and Publishing

The Triumph of the Thriller…and other Scary Lit

A decade ago, The New York Times published the first chapter of Patrick Anderson’s book, The Triumph of the Thriller, which charted the change in American reading habits (as judged by bestseller lists) over the previous forty years.  Wrote Anderson: “The more I read, the more I was struck by the transformation in America’s reading habits. I grew up with the blockbuster novels of the 1950s and 1960s, written by people like James Michener, Harold Robbins, John O’Hara, Jacqueline Susann, Herman Wouk, and Irving Stone. They explored sex, money, movie stars, war, religion, and exotic foreign lands but rarely concerned themselves
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Walking on Water with Madeleine L’Engle

it’s been many years since I first came across the work of the late great Madeleine L’Engle, author of the beloved A Wrinkle in Time. Back when I was a member of a much-missed Mythopoeic reading group, we read L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.  The intersection of faith, spirituality, and literature is one of the subjects closest to my heart—how to incorporate spirituality in your writing, and how not to at any cost. With that in view, I’d like to share a couple of quotes from the early portion of this wonderful book, with the recommendation
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The Day I Fell in Love

I’m one of those who remembers little of early childhood. I have, however, a sun-bright memory of sitting rapt at my schooldesk in Mrs. Goluba’s second grade class, aged seven, as she read aloud to us, over a period of several weeks, A.A. Milnes’ House at Pooh Corner. That, I distinctly remember, was when I fell in love with books. And now that I think of it, with fantasy literature as a genre as well. I loved Pooh so ardently I begged for it for Christmas. Unwrapping it that morning, I remember not only my delight at the prospect of being able to relive those
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Discovered: Unknown, Unpublished C.S. Lewis poem

Here’s the Press Release: Texas State University   07/01/16 News from the Office of Media Relations Jayme Blaschke  jb71@txstate.edu 601 University Drive San Marcos, TX  78666 (512) 245-2180 Texas State’s Beebe discovers unknown, unpublished C.S. Lewis poem SAN MARCOS – Steven Beebe, a Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies at Texas State University, has discovered an unpublished and unknown poem authored by famed 20th century author C. S. Lewis. Beebe found the poem while conducting research this summer at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. Handwritten on the back of one of Lewis’ manuscripts—and authenticated by Lewis scholar, author and handwriting expert Charlie
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Stephen King and George R.R. Martin discuss writing (and Tolkien, and poker, and family, and kazoos)

—Very fun chat, filmed in New Mexico. The two share, among other things, their childhood “Aha!” moments with books, sci-fi, and horror, and when they knew they wanted to become writers. King, for instance, started submitting stories when he was 12 and sold his first one at 19. “I think creativity is a mystery,” says King. Yes, and perhaps even more mysterious, at least to some of us, is the seemingly innate self-confidence that enables a kid to withstand years and years of rejections without (apparently) suffering crippling self doubt. In the end, I’m with Martin: “How in the bleep do
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“The Fiction of Ian McEwan” in Second Spring Journal

A Christian Looks at the Fiction of Ian McEwan My essay, “A Christian Looks at the Fiction of Ian McEwan,” was published in issue 10: “The Spirit of the University,” of Second Spring Journal. Back issues and subscriptions to this fine journal, edited by the late and sorely missed Stratford Caldecott, can be ordered here. Here’s a brief excerpt from the opening section: Two things need  to be gotten out of the way before anyone attempts to address the fiction of English novelist Ian McEwan in a disapproving vein: First, he is one of the most acclaimed writers of our time; Second,
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Nabokov in Ashlandia

I recently discovered that Vladimir Nabokov finished his most famous work, Lolita, in our beautiful city of Ashland, Oregon. Seeing as how it had been forty years since I had read Lolita, I did some digging: turns out there are also (speaking of “mythical State of Jefferson”) some Arthurian links in the famous Russian novelist’s life and work. Describing his own childhood as nearly “perfect,” Nabokov grew up trilingual (Russian, French, English) in a wealthy St. Petersburg family. He could read English before he could read Russian. His early literary fare: the legends of King Arthur, his Knights, and the Round Table.
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Of Nabokov, Lancelot, and Ashland

                          I love to walk, to see the world on foot. That my hometown of Ashland, Oregon is one of the primo towns in the country for hiking, whether perambulating path or pavement, was a major incentive to move here. Last summer, one Sunday morning, coming down from a hike in the hills above the Boulevard to meet the Clan for coffee at Bloomsbury, I came upon this sign between a couple of newer homes on Meade Street: All the years we had visited and/or lived here, almost two decades in
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