Scandinavian Crime Fiction

the forgotten girlsI am just about finished with Sara Blaedel’s The Forgotten Girls.  As crime fiction goes, it is pretty standard fare.  What I didn’t realize until after I started reading it, however, is that Blaedel is from Denmark.  And looking back, the last several crime fiction books I’ve read have also been from that part of the world: Stieg Larsson and his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series (Sweden); Jo Nesbø and his Detective Harry Hole series (Norway); and maybe not exactly crime fiction, but along these same lines, Herman Koch (born in the Netherlands, but having spent some time in Finland)(I recently devoured both The Dinner and Summer House With Swimming Pool. Excellent!). Continue reading

Inspiring Stories About Famous Authors- Guest Post

[We are very excited to have Hilda Simpson, a freelance writer and honorary dunce, on board with two fascinating guest posts about famous authors.  Hopefully she has fun, and will agree to come back for more.  Enjoy!]

What inspired great writers and how they scheduled their working day.

Hemingway wrote standing, Nabokov used the index cards, Vonnegut recharged with scotch and Murakami with sports. We bring you the most interesting evidence of outstanding writers, on how they created a working day that inspired them. Continue reading

“Naked in the Woods” – by: Margaret Grundstein- Book Review

GrundsteinCompF.inddAt least once a week, and sometimes more, I think about running away.  Granted, I don’t usually get too far into the specifics.  But I do wonder, abstractly, what that would actually look like.  Just going completely off the grid.  No more career, no more fixed responsibilities, no more technology, or even electricity.  Well that is precisely what Margaret Grundstein did, which she describes in delightful detail in her memoir Naked in the Woods: My Unexpected Years in a Hippie Commune.

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Rediscovering Maya Angelou

maya angelouAs I have mentioned here before, there was a time in my life when poetry was very important to me.  Reading it, studying it, writing it, writing about it.  I read a lot of poets during that time, by assignment and by choice.  I really liked some, and I really didn’t like others.

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Every Love Story is a Ghost Story

every-love-story-is-a-ghost-storyA friend of mine described D.T. Max’s Every Love Story is a Ghost Story- A Life of David Foster Wallace as akin to a 300-page Wikipedia article.  300+ pages later, I’m still not sure how to respond to that.  It was very factual, but better written and less boring than much of what you’ll find over at Wikipedia.  Of course, maybe I’m just biased.  Would you read a 300 page encyclopedia entry about the most fascinating person you have ever encountered?  If yes, then read on. Continue reading

Dunce One is The World’s Strongest Librarian

world's strongest librarianDunces, dunces, there is an author in our midst.  Dunce One is The World’s Strongest Librarian, and his memoir is being released just one week from today.  If you haven’t heard anything about his book, you can check out his other blog, go to Amazon, or just Google it and go crazy, because he has been receiving a lot of notice and coverage.  Even Oprah wants in.  All much deserved.  Believe the hype! Continue reading

Joyce Carol Oates- Yea or Nay?

In another blog I follow, they were discussing favorite authors, and somebody mentioned Joyce Carol Oates.  I have read some of the anthologies that she has compiled, but had never read anything actually written by her (which I know is hard to do, given how many books she has written and how much I like reading; but there you have it).  She seems to be one of those polarizing authors who people either really love or really hate.  Ever the curious reader, I wanted to see for myself. Continue reading

Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen: Book Review

This book got a lot of hype (I think even Oprah endorsed it, so you know it’s legit).  For a while, it was everywhere, and everyone was talking about it.  I didn’t read it when any of that was going on.  But then two things happened: (1) a friend of mine read and reviewed it on Goodreads, and I became intrigued; and (2) while waiting to get my haircut, I read an article in, I think it was “Time,” containing an interview with the author, talking about his relationship with David Foster Wallace, and how Wallace’s death impacted his writing of the novel.  He also talked about why and how he writes women.  Intriguing, intriguing, intriguing. Continue reading

Author Interview: Abby Slovin

I recently had the opportunity to read Letters in Cardboard Boxes, by Abby Slovin.  It was a touching, beautiful story, rich with human relationships and memories and urban charm and self-discovery.  I may still write a more thorough review, but in the meantime, I had the unique opportunity to “interview” the author, and I can’t wait to share our exchange.  So hear it goes: Continue reading