A great story is all in the telling

I love against-all-odds stories. The best ones awaken in me a pride in the little guy, the person who didn’t know he had a passion for life until it is nearly stolen from him. They also provide me with something to ponder: What would I have done in the same situation.

The thriller genre is chock full of lowly-but-honest people who take on impossible battles. Those stories are good for what they are, but because they’re fiction I find myself at arms length when deciding whether to care. Continue reading “A great story is all in the telling”

Hey Classics Challengers: What’s in a name?

I haven’t posted in a while, but that doesn’t mean I have been reading any less. I wish there were a way I could sit down and write ten blog posts at once and schedule them to post themselves throughout the coming week. Alas, it doesn’t appear I can do that, so I’ve got so many books to write about, but no time to do it.

This picture's terrible, but it's just something I just stole off the Internet, so I guess I can't complain too much.
This picture’s terrible, but it’s just something I just stole off the Internet, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Today, I got an email from a Classics Challenger asking what the next category is. I don’t want to be responsible for holding people back from reading, so I’ve chosen the next category: A book whose title is a person’s name. Continue reading “Hey Classics Challengers: What’s in a name?”

Classics Challengers: Get to know W. Somerset Maugham

Too many things have been going on, which is why I haven’t posted since April 1 (yikes!). I hope I still have some of you with me.

This latest category was short stories, and though I chose it because I thought I could knock it out in an afternoon, it took much longer than I thought. Who would have thought that six short stories would have taken this long to read? Continue reading “Classics Challengers: Get to know W. Somerset Maugham”

Choosing to like “Happy”

Best known for her international hit plays “Art” and “God of Carnage,” Yasmina Reza is a writer who isn’t afraid of truths, no matter how uncomfortable.

happy are the happy“Art” examines the tenuous nature of male friendship and “Carnage” peels back the thin veneer of civility to reveal the preening, selfish, petty assholes we all would be if society didn’t demand something different. Both plays are very funny while making cogent, hard-to-swallow points.

Reza’s new novel, “Happy are the Happy” is an interesting work. (It always feels damning to call something “interesting” because it’s the kind of word my mom would use when trying to wrap her head around a movie or a book or a play I suggested. She’s too nice to say “I didn’t like it,” and too demure to say “WTF?” So “interesting” became code word for “What was I supposed to like about that?” and for “meh.”) Continue reading “Choosing to like “Happy””