Category Archives: Write

Facing the Future Alone (Solo Faces by James Salter)

So much strikes home for me in Solo Faces by James Salter that perhaps you should not trust my review. Salter is a writers’ writer and his style recalls an earlier literary epoch, where every word seemed to pack more weight. His precise language and elliptical literary techniques coalesce into a brilliant, poetically clear, incisive narrative. His style appears to echo the sparse prose of American literature during most of the 20th century, with obvious … Continue reading

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Run, But Don’t Write (Run or Die by Kilian Jornet)

Kilian Jornet is a brilliant athlete, a world class endurance runner who must pay attention to training details, schedules, and his competition. But he is an amateurish, immature writer. It’s okay to admire one but not the other. While he may be acutely aware of his own physical ability, accomplishments, and goals, he does not appear to be particularly attentive to others, including readers. Run or Die was written by a self-absorbed 24-year-old Jornet, with … Continue reading

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Dazzling End (Death’s End by Cixin Liu)

By the time you get to the end of Death’s End, and Cixin Liu’s masterpiece of a trilogy, you don’t want an ending, even death’s. Stylistically, Liu’s writing ranges from informational to poetic. He skillfully uses literary devices and techniques, referencing a book by one of the characters, inserting vitally significant fairy tales loaded with contextual clues that determine the fate of earth and the solar system, and weaves it together in the over arching … Continue reading

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Enlightening Darkness (The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu)

This sequel is as good as, if not better than, Cixin Liu’s first book of his masterful trilogy, The Three Body Problem. The writing flows from the micro to the macro with realistic plausibility. The opening scene is beautifully written from the point of view of an ant on a gravestone and by the end, following an intellectually stimulating narrative, the reader has expanded into the solar system and beyond. Liu connects events over fictional … Continue reading

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An Unoriginal Thank You (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.)

Somewhere in his book “Originals,” Adam Grant writes that critical book reviewers were thought to be more intelligent than those who left positive reviews. Apparently, not many people are taking his advice. While many of the anecdotes were fun and interesting, Grant also mixed in stale information about birth order and platitudes regarding business approaches. The number and length of footnotes was distracting. They could have been blended into the narrative. Grant also had the … Continue reading

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A Very Big Political Poem

Oh! upon the day when antique words, make more sense than today’s tweets. Oh! upon the day when comics do, bequeath more truth than heads of state. Oh! upon the day when presidents, say more lies than Ponzi Madoff and Hitler too. Oh! shit we’re screwed. Share on Facebook

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Cut the Calories (The Last Child by John Hart)

This story could have easily been told in less than 300 pages instead of 531. I felt bludgeoned by unnecessary prose. Repetition was emphasized by italics, emphasized by repetition. I read somewhere that readers feel like they are getting more for their money when they purchase a thick book. That sort of thick-headed thinking may be to blame for the ruin of an otherwise pretty good story, at least for readers like me who lose … Continue reading

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Savage Rights

Quit whining about your so-called rights. You have none. You have no right to healthcare or education, clean water, food or housing. You are not entitled by birth to surf the web in search of contraception. The prey has no right to protection from the mortgage banker. There is no freedom from suffering, disease, hunger, fatal mishaps, or marauding bands of savages. You must crush the opposition. Club the bastards to death. This bleak reductive … Continue reading

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The Chaos of Three (The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu)

Unlike anything I have ever read. It feels strange to make such a statement considering I’ve read a lot in almost every genre. The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu should appeal to hard core science fiction enthusiasts, especially those interested in physics and astrophysics, but it also weaves in fascinating information about the Cultural Revolution and its lasting impact on modern China, makes excellent use of familiar stereotypes in unexpected ways, and creates suspense … Continue reading

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An Elegantly Written Mess (The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach)

Chad Harbach writes elegant prose in The Art of Fielding, and there are moments when his prose matches his insight and the writing becomes almost incandescent, the stuff of great literature. Unfortunately, the beautiful parts taken together sum up to a melodramatic whiny mess. Harbach writes so well, constructs such well-crafted sentences that it seems he can’t control the impulse to add unnecessary narrative. I often got the feeling that he inserted characters and descriptions … Continue reading

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