Tag Archives: authors

Fantastic Fiction

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I just learned about a phenomenal website for readers who love fiction. It’s Fantastic Fiction and it’s a treasure trove containing an exhaustive amount of content on authors and books of all genres. Genres featured include everything from mysteries and sagas to urban literature and paranormal romance.

You can find new books by looking at books your favorite authors have suggested or by looking at what other users viewed that view one of your favorite books.

Librarians use is extensively when they suggest books.

Fantastic Fiction was started as a hobby and now a full time business for Dave Wand and his small crew.

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Posted by on August 31, 2018 in book lovers, book review, fiction, historical fiction, novel, postaweek


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Bellow’s Birthday

At the end of the semester I’m always swamped and emails and personal errands fall to the wayside. Thus I’m just now reading my Writers’ Almanac for June 10th which I’ve learned is my favorite writer, Saul Bellow’s, birthday.

It’s the birthday of Saul Bellow (born in Quebec, Canada (1915). He grew up in Chicago. He was often sick as a child, and spent his time reading the great classics of literature. Saul Bellow later said, “I came humbly, hat in hand, to literary America. I didn’t ask for much; I had a book or two to publish. I didn’t expect to make money at it. I saw myself at the tail end of a great glory. I was very moved by the books I had read in school, and I brought an offering to the altar.”

His father wasn’t happy that Bellow wanted to be a writer. He said, “You write and then you erase. You call that a profession?” His brothers went into more conventional careers and Bellow once said, “All I started out to do was to show up my brothers.”

He wrote a couple of novels that didn’t do that well. He went to Paris on a Guggenheim fellowship. He hated Paris. The more he hated Paris, the more he loved America and Chicago. It was there he began writing his first big successful book, The Adventures of Augie March.
Do read The Adventures of Augie March, one of my all time favorites.

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in American Lit



It’s Talk Like Shakespeare Day

To celebrate the Bard’s birthday, it’s Talk Like Shakespeare Day. In Chicago the Mayor made a special proclamation.

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in British Lit, classic


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The Same Man

I loved this book. It compares and contrasts writers Eric Blair, a.k.a. George Orwell, and Evelyn Waugh.

In The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War the author Deavid Lebedoff presents the childhood experiences that formed each writers’ consciousness. I learned that while Blair’s father was a civil servant and thus the family had less income than Waugh’s the intricate English social system did confer rather high status on the family. Though he needed a scholarship (and was sneered at for this reason) Blair went to Eton, a prestigeous, if not the most prestigeous boarding school in England. This education, though painful at times, left an indelible mark on Blair. In their respective schools Waugh was the bully and Blair the bullied. Lebedoff mentions that someone once said that if you were the bully in school you become a conservative, if you were bullied, a liberal.

Then even more surprising, I learned that Waugh, whose family was more obsessed with social class, who was so enthralled with aristocracy, could not afford Eton or a boarding school of that ilk. He had to settle for school in his town and eventually got into a rather second class version of Eton.

Both writers were born in 1903 and their lives took radically different paths. They subscribed to different belief systems, and their writing achieved success at different points in their lives. Waugh was recognized early on as a writer of great style and wit, whereas Blair started out as a terrible writer and slowly improved to the greatness of his 1984.

The last chapters describe and interpret these authors’ beliefs towards politics, communism, family life, speaking out, and their own writing. It was most engaging. While both men would vote differently, parent differently and pray (or not) differently they shared some common beliefs. They both were skeptical of the modern age and its trust of technology and meritocracy. They believed instinct and character were human’s most important attributes and were leary of a society, like ours, where high SAT scores and such determined our leaders. (Though I doubt they’d be thrilled by Bush.) They saw that intellect without character led to great troubles.

I was inspired to learn that Blair wrote while sirens went off during air raids. What excuse to I have to neglect my writing?

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Posted by on July 24, 2011 in British Lit, non-fiction