Reading, reading and more reading. Current news from a bibliophile.

I know. Quitcher whining. Oh, poor me! I've been getting so many free review books lately!

Yeah, well, it IS a problem when you're trying to fit in the actual time to read them. Here are a couple I'm working on right now:


Short reviews:

“Lynch’s depiction of the natural world and his deep sympathy for his characters carry the book [with] majestic moments.” –Publishers Weekly

“Meet Brandon Vanderkool, the most fascinating, memorable, and human character in American fiction since Ignatius J. Reilly of A Confederacy of Dunces.  Birder extraordinaire, painter and sculptor, part-savant and ever the Good Samaritan, Brandon also happens to be a 6’8” Border Patrol agent with an uncanny gift for finding contraband and smugglers.  Border Songs is a masterwork, and Jim Lynch, for my money, is our best new storyteller since Larry McMurtry: deeply in touch with the natural world, the absurdities of our era, and the hearts and minds of his unforgettable and endlessly surprising characters.” –Howard Frank Mosher

“Jim Lynch’s new novel reads as an antitdote to the 21st century: a kind of metaphorical insistence on hope and simplicity and art in the face of a surrounding storm.  Border Songs is a quietly ambitious book and it just gets better as it rises to the final satisfying image.” –Kent Haruf

And me:

So far, he alternates between exquisite prose and one thing that annoys me to no end – using adverbs to describe in what tone a character is speaking. He has too much experience, and writes in too fine a manner to do this. Don't tell me, "Yes!" he responded eagerly." The exclamation point SHOWS ME he's responding eagerly. Don't repeat it. 

Oh, and exclamation points in formal writing? I hate them!!!!!!!!!!!!! There's almost never an appropriate time to use an exclamation point in fictional prose. Almost never!!!!!!!

I can't stand this way of writing. Don't use adverbs to tell me how a character feels. That's sloppy writing, and as the reader I need to intuit this from the scene. And, unless your character is falling off a cliff, no exclamation points. But even then, I think I'd get the idea of urgency from the scene.

When editing I strike these sorts of things with a red pen, yet some writers are positively determined to annoy me.



"Sellers’s elegant first novel imagines life in Britain’s Bloomsbury circle from the point of view of Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf’s older sister… The amazing aspect of this novel is its painterly quality. As Vanessa recalls her life, layer upon layer of memory is applied to create a portrait of color and shadow, a process that is mirrored in the narrator’s descriptions of her methods of painting…Highly recommended for collections of literary fiction-particularly where Woolf is popular."–Library Journal

Hmmm… Really? That's awfully high praise.

I'm not far enough into this book to really judge it. Let's just say, I'm a VW fan, and in order to write about these sisters you'd better be prepared to really impress or I'll toss you against the wall.

Can you say, "hard ass critic?"

Finally, has anyone read this book?


I feel lust and extreme want coming on, but the pile of review books I have now – plus the library books I have checked out – is teetering already. And this one's over 500 pages.


Anyone read it and have an opinion? I don't know how long I'll be able to hold out.

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