Posts Tagged ‘fiction’


Windy City Blues – “My Kind of Town”

September 22, 2015


Windy City Blues by Sara Paretsky

I usually read through introductions quickly, but the one to this book, about Chicago (the background of the story and its characters) is a masterpiece. And, it adds to each of the V. I. Warshawski pieces.

I have read Sara Paretsky before but never appreciated all that she brings to her work. These are not clever twists, but real life―hospital staff rivalries, tennis tournament coaching screw-ups, missing classical music scores.

I particularly liked the first 2/3 with “Grace Notes” and “The Maltese Cat.” “Settled Score” proved disappointing, but the nice thing about short stories is that you can always move on to the next.

And at the heart of them is a Polish, female, PI who gets things done. She lets us, as readers be part of the action in a real, Chicago way.

4 out of 5



Write Away – “Worst Book of the Year”

December 30, 2013

Write Away

Write Away

by Elizabeth George

Perennial Currents

13.92 Paperback, 260 pages

I remember giving a presentation as part of a panel with Elizabeth George. I don’t remember a thing I said, or she did. Wait a minute it was Margret George, not Elizabeth George. No matter, I won’t remember a word of this either.

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Immediate Fiction – “Want, Obstacle, Action”

March 28, 2013

Immediate Fiction

Jerry Cleaver

St. Martin’s Griffin

275 pages, $15.99

Immediate FictionThis book reminds me of a section in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in which the author is putting together a barbecue grill manufactured in Japan. The first number of the instruction says something like “1. Be in the right frame of mind.” That, it seems to me is what this book does for wanabe writers, puts them in the right frame of mind. Read the rest of this entry ?



April 16, 2012

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

by Jonathan Gottschall

Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt, 2012

250 Pages, $24

This book begins with startling questions, such as, “The riddle of fiction comes to this: Evolution is ruthlessly utilitarian. How has the seeming luxury of fiction not been eliminated from human life?” and picks up other equally thought-provoking ones along the way—why is storytelling fixated on trouble, why do boys and girls play in different ways, what is the link between madness and creativity and exactly what role do stories play in religion? Read the rest of this entry ?


THE NEW YORKER STORIES – “Greatness within Grasp”

December 14, 2010

The New Yorker Stories

by Ann Beattie


$30, 516 pages

Beattie’s stories (then and now) articulate certain confusions and disappointments that often haunt the reader not as fiction but as things that have happened in real life. Now when I look at a short story writer, I am most concerned with what I, as a writer can learn, and pieces by Hemingway, Faulkner, even my favorite, Raymond Carver, Read the rest of this entry ?


HUNTING FOR HEMINGWAY — “Judge This Book by Its Cover”

December 8, 2010

Hunting for Hemingway

by Diane Gilbert Madsen

Midnight Ink

$14.95, 278 pages

Love the title, the cover design, a Chicago summer setting, the basic plot idea and a climax that really delivers. The problem with many books that involve literati (even tangentially) is that we wish we were reading the masters instead of the rip-off. But that’s not the case here as a rather promiscuous insurance DD McGil is hot on the trail of the famous missing Read the rest of this entry ?