Posts

Showing posts from June, 2010

Similar Paths, Different Deliveries: Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft

Image
I've spent the better part of May and June with a couple of short story writers, one of whom is an old friend and the other is a new discovery.  I truly enjoyed their writing — and, though it wasn't my intent, I found myself comparing the two.

I approached Ray Bradbury and H.P. Lovecraft with equal parts excitement and trepidation.  (Some "scary" books don't settle well with me, a fact to which my husband David can attest.)  I expected to see their similarities and instead discovered their wonderful differences.

I've read Ray Bradbury since I was old enough to visit the library on my own, which was right around grade school.  As a young journalist in the mid-1980s, I was fortunate enough to interview him for an article on the now-defunct Acres of Books in Long Beach, Calif.  That was a glorious hour with a generous writer, and I reveled in every single minute of it.  (I was horrified to discover my tape recorder hadn't captured a single moment on tape, bu…

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Image
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a well-written novel with interesting characters and a compelling story. It started off like gangbusters with an intriguing first few pages describing an old man receiving a mysterious gift in the mail, continued ripe with suspense and intrigue, and ended with heartbreak. I should really have liked it.

However, I didn't like it, and I wouldn't recommend it to another reader.

First and foremost, it was very lurid. I stopped watching the television shows CSI and Law & Order because every crime seemed to involve a young, attractive woman who was raped and/or murdered in gross, horrifying ways. (As though there is any other way to be raped and/or murdered....)  The excruciating details of these crimes laid bare in 42 minutes made me ill.

Such was the case with this book. Every section title page included a statistic regarding violence against women, so we had an idea that more would be revealed. Two main female characters were brutalized, a…

Review: Have a Little Faith

Image
I discovered Mitch Albom when he visited George Mason University for Fall for the Book.  His book at the time was For One More Day, a tantalizing slender volume whose premise intrigued me.  However, I had pooh-poohed his book as sentimental.  Weren't all of his books like that?

Then I read one.

And I fell in love with Mitch's writing.

However, I still approached this book with trepidation.  It was about death,  religion and faith.  It was about poverty and drugs and loss.  It was about a whole lot of issues I wasn't ready to confront when I got the book for Christmas.

But I had faith in Mitch, and when I was ready, so was his book.

I did not know what to expect from this book, and I was again delighted by Mitch's deft touch that never, ever veered to maudlin. 

May I say I love Albert Lewis?  His idea of faith is so similar to mine, only he takes it a step further.  After reading The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, I decided everyone was right.  However,…

Why I Cast Aside The Devil's Punchbowl

Image
I fell in love with Greg Iles because of the radio.

It was a Friday afternoon and I was driving home from work, all 2.2 miles, when I heard an ad for his novel, Spandau Phoenix.  I was intrigued enough by the premise to stop by the bookstore on my way home.  I don't remember what I had planned that weekend, but it wasn't important as I cracked open the paperback and followed Iles wherever he planned to take me.
I secretly suspected Iles was really John Grisham a la Richard Bachman.  (Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm not convinced.)

I  pounced on his second book when it came out.  I didn't like as much but still appreciated it, and I was more than a little grateful that his next novel wasn't a WWII thriller. 
I've read nearly every novel Iles has written, and I've liked them to varying degrees.  His website touts his ability to write in multiple genres, which benefits both the reader and the writer.  However, I was really creeped out by the lasciviousness o…