Tag Archives: Fiction

How to Read Moby-Dick:

The Stake


by Bethany Taylor

While out walking my dog very early one morning I ran into a frantic woman, beseeching directions to Starbucks.

My reflexive internal response was, “I’m sorry to tell you this, ma’am, but he went down aboard the Pequod,” but I kept the joke to myself, stifled my giggles, and directed the woman towards the coffee shop.

For the most part, everything I’ve ever read about Moby-Dick has been either beautiful and solemn like a dull sermon, or dismissive of it as a baggy boring relic of bygone days. The book invites comparisons to the whale itself: the sheer size and density, a brick of over 600 page, as though its treasures must be gleaned from crosshatched ink scars carved in white slabbed pages.

For many, it is A Book To Be Read, almost a Jonahian duty that cannot be shirked lest the gods be angered, an…

View original post 1,156 more words

Chasing Narrative: Jennifer Egan’s Sometimes Non-Linear Take on Time, Age, and Technology

Tropics of Meta

High school didn’t leave much time for movies.  Maybe that’s not entirely true; movies were there and time for them existed, but the level of analysis one marshals as a college freshman or high school student probably lacks the kind of insight more seasoned individuals can bring to the table. In other words, it’s hard to say how much adolescents attend to issues like structure, perspective, or the relationship between audience and the art; those heady thoughts tend to come much later as successive waves of pop culture and literary canons continually crest and recede.  But it was 1994 when Pulp Fiction first introduced a new generation to the complex marriage between the visual, the emotional, and what is written on the page.  At the time many considered Forrest Gump to be the epitome of cinema; in this regard, Pulp Fiction didn’t just blow the minds of “Generation X”, it…

View original post 1,641 more words

Marooned on an Island Monographs: A Historical Fiction Reading List


the many-headed monster

Laura Sangha

A recent mini-series has emerged on the monster, in which Mark (social history and the history of drinking), Jonathan (reformation history) and Brodie (economic history) have all shared the classic history books that they would take with them if marooned on a Pacific beach. But given that it is impossible to imagine anyone actually settling down with a cocktail and Joan Thirsk’s Economic Policy and Projects, and following an excellent suggestion by a monster reader, my list is comprised of some historical fiction that you might actually pop in your suitcase this summer.


But first, I have to get something off my chest. My name is Laura, I am an early modern historian, and I didn’t like Wolf Hall. In fact, I couldn’t even finish it. I tried, several times, and eventually made it about 200 pages in, but my resolve faltered when…

View original post 1,436 more words

How Much Does Random Chance Account for a Writer’s Success?

Richard Levesque

800px-WeirdTalesv36n1pg045_Casino_SuicideI read a lot posts about marketing and selling books. For the most part, they say the same thing. To succeed, a writer (indie or otherwise) needs to:

  • Blog
  • Have a website or “landing page” for his/her book
  • Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.)
  • Develop a “platform”
  • Build connections with a community of readers
  • Develop an email list/newsletter
  • Have an amazing book, a professional cover, and a catchy blurb
  • Make smart use of sales tactics like price points and free Kindle days
  • Never, never, never, never give up

I’ve been wondering, though, if one more thing shouldn’t be added to the list: To succeed, a writer needs to be really lucky.

I can hear the howls now: Luck has nothing to do with it! It’s all about talent and perseverance and building a community of readers…

True. It’s hard to imagine success without those things, but I still think…

View original post 1,024 more words