My Curious Reading: A book report from the zero income front

My impression is that, when the average browsing consumer considers the self-published novel, quality is not her concern. By this I mean the question of whether she expects to find quality. We might (it’s been done) correlate types of publishing to shopping venues—take brick and mortar stores as the equivalent of traditional presses and agents; […]

My Curious Reading: Character Logic

 Let’s begin by splitting a hair. E. M. Forster, in Aspects of the Novel (Harcourt, 1927), gives his seventh lecture on the theme of Prophecy. He introduces a metaphor: “song” to represent the voice of the prophet; “the furniture of common sense”, to represent verisimilitude. Towards the end of the this section, Forster says, referencing […]

Hammersmith (ten)

“Mr. Hogben, the parlor sofa…” Less sticky about being accommodating than she’d feared, he’d done her the favor of saying, “I might head down with Shaw, when he goes after that salve, and see about a room at the hotel.” Of course, by that, she’d probably lost him. Why had she ever said it to […]

My Curious Reading: Planet Earth and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Dr. Underhill said, if we would destroy insects, we must preserve birds. Birds which run up the trunks of trees, like the Woodpeckers, are of especial benefit. They dig out the larvae of insects from the bark and devour it. A Cat-bird would destroy a hundred caterpillars in a day. Where birds, even Crows, are […]

Hammersmith (nine)

Aimee Bard, having that in common with the settled object of her campaign, began the morning wondering if she could get a moment to herself. She’d gathered Mrs. Frieslander’s bundles, an errand she never did for mere kindness—“Please don’t thank me! You know I’m always in town for one thing or another”—so much as to […]

My Curious Reading: The Baron and the Bulge

Dialogue must be the most powerful type of writing. Most of us, I think, leafing through a book, see dialogue sequences as welcome action; we get from these a little pleased anticipation. Things are picking up. It doesn’t take that form of narrative known as the historical present to make dialogue function as real-time. Conversation […]

Hammersmith (eight)

Hogben had broken a rule of his own, one that had always served…and Hogben had been a traveling man for twenty-odd years. He’d had scrapes. He’d not often had a partner to rely on. But even these past few, when with the Professor he’d gone the route from Philadelphia to San Francisco—north to Bismarck, south […]

Hammersmith (seven)

He was lying as though asleep, his trousers rolled, knees bent, his bare feet under water. “Ah!” Ruby said. “Is it cold?” She thought she hadn’t meant to say this aloud. It was only that the flood waters had been so cold, like ice. The poor Professor, him with the French name, so grand, Mr. […]

Hammersmith (six)

The banqueting hall, hung with tapestries that seemed to emit an odor of medieval sweat…authentic, Mack was willing to believe—had an oblong table, where this knighthood of American purity sat decidedly in an order of precedence. He was at the foot. At least he supposed so, as at his back a vast oaken door swung […]

Hammersmith (five)

She detected Mr. Hogben’s voice, and thought a sort of misery colored his inarticulate grunts. The other man she knew at once for a stranger. Now and again she could hear Minnie Leybourne. Mostly the stranger, passionate. War an invention of the military interests, an affliction on the helpless poor…starved, driven from their homes, murdered. […]