An Article on Donald Ray Pollock

I’ve not read any of his books and I’ve only just heard of him; he was featured on the cover of the local library’s newsletter and his name grabbed me: Donald Ray Pollock. At first I thought, “Jackson Pollock?” because the photo of him looked terribly similar to one I’ve seen of Jackson Pollock, but then I actually read the big type in front of my face and saw Donald Ray Pollock, and of course I immediately said, “Look, he has my first and middle name!” (Because apparently I’m a Kindergartener.)

Beyond the similarity of our names I still knew next to nothing about the guy or his work, bringing me to this morning and an article on The Millions: I learned that he, like me, is self educated in literature and is from Ohio . . . but that is where the similarities end.

Continue reading

Welcome New Readers

I’m assuming that each of you reading this post have or will be taking advantage of the Amazon Free Promo for this book, and so I would like to welcome you and point out a quick couple of things:

This News section will contain book updates, articles from around the literary world, interviews with other writers, and commentary. This section is the most heavily updated and its posts are shared via Twitter and Facebook.

There is a Facts & Truths section that contains information on some of the history and ideas put forth inside this book. It is wholly incomplete at this point but will continually be updated with more information.

And coming soon, there will be an interactive section that has a map illustrating the land from The Sinner King along with information about certain locations highlighted inside the story. Also, there will be a section dedicated to the second book of the four-part series: Book of Earth. It will contain teaser information and news about the progress and release date.

So welcome, again, and I hope you enjoy the story and become a fan.

Amazon Promotion: Get The Sinner King for FREE!

This is actually pretty cool and exciting: on Tuesday, November 13th (TOMORROW) Amazon is making The Sinner King: Book of Fire free on Kindle for an entire 24 hour period. The reason why this is exciting is because it gets the book out to a whole new audience of people from around the world who would be hesitant on buying from an unknown author. This promotion is listed in several high traffic book websites and will be promoted on Twitter.

So if you are one of those hesitant people and are slightly curious about this book then I suggest downloading it and giving at least the first couple of chapters a shot. It literally costs nothing tomorrow and you will own it.

And if you don’t have a Kindle (like me), you can still download the book to Amazon’s Cloud Reader and read it on your desktop, laptop, or tablet.

Here is a link to The Sinner King: Book of Fire Kindle Edition


A revolution in learning how to write?

I came across this article in The Atlantic that delves into the troubles kids have with writing and how it could possibly be affecting their grades in other subjects. Basically, a group of teachers at a troubled High School attempted to narrow down why so many kids in their classes were having such a difficult time writing essay answers, and it turned out that these kids found explaining their thoughts on paper extremely challenging because they didn’t have the language skills to aid them.

Continue reading

Suspend Your Disbelief

It’s probably one of the toughest things for an audience to do; suspending disbelief requires losing rationality, logic, and factors of probability. For an artist (particularly a writer and filmmaker), getting their audience to believe that the impossible is possible is extremely tricky and often done incorrectly, leaving the audience sour or flat-out irritated. I’m not going tell you how to correctly go about getting an audience to believe in the impossible—that would require a level of arrogance I don’t have—instead, I’m going to draw attention to a couple of artists who successfully convinced me to believe, as well as a couple of artists who almost failed, and did fail, at doing so.

Steven Spielberg is quite possibly the king of getting me to believe. A great example of this gift is represented in the movie Jaws, particularly with the ending.

Had I never seen the movie and had no idea what was going to happen, and if you told me that in the movie Jaws, a small-town sherif lays on the tip of a sinking boat that a gigantic great white single handedly sunk, and fires a hunting rifle at an oxygen tank stuck in the jaws of this great white and blows it to smithereens, I would probably tell you, “Sounds like the worst movie of all time.” However that is not the case. Jaws was the highest grossing film, ever (at the time of its release). It destroyed the competition. Everyone had to see it for one reason: it scared the piss out of them!

Continue reading

Review: A Storm of Swords

This is the beginning of a biweekly book review series I’ll be doing. None of my reviews will feature plot summaries or spoilers; instead, these reviews will focus on what I refer to as Continued Education, which is how I internally breakdown books and extract lessons from them (lessons in story telling, prose, and style). I list out my overall impression of the book and then I break down what was good about it and what was bad about it. I then rate each book in the 1-10 scale. So without further ado:

What can I say? A Storm of Swords is the big payoff for the first two books of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s hard for me to review this book as I would for all others because I didn’t read it in a conventional manner: instead, I read each character all the way through before moving on to the next . . . and I must say, “Wow.”

Continue reading

O V-2, Where Art Thou?

Somehow I managed to tackle Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow—or I should say, was tackled by Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Because, I mean, who really tackles Pynchon? Some superior intellect that would talk circles around me—that’s who. Or maybe even that person would be kidding him or herself.

Overall, I don’t know if—or how—I can comment on the plot of the story. Is there a plot? I’m sure there is but it’s about as unconventional as any other out there. I think Richard Locke wrote it best with the title of his 1973 New York Times review: One of the Longest, Most Difficult, Most Ambitious Novels in Years. You can read the review here. It’s worth the read. Locke did a much better job than I ever could at breaking down the book and its themes.

Continue reading

Quick reviews of a few books

Recently (meaning over the course of the past month) I’ve finished a few books that I would like to quickly comment on. The first being, A Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet, which is a richly written tale about a Dutch merchant who falls in love with a Japanese mid-wife, who incidentally is sold to a cruel abbot and held captive. The story follows Jacob, as well as several other characters introduced through his plot line, and has a unique ending that I found very satisfying, if not a bit emotional (don’t ask me to explain why). Although it was just under 500 pages, the read took me longer than most because of the foreign setting, names and language. The author, David Mitchell, did his research and wrote a wonderful historical novel that I recommend to anyone looking for an enriching experience.

Continue reading

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The novel I’m currently engrossed in reading is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. I simply want to share a review written about the book by Alexander Linklater.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

A love story from 18th century Japan confirms David Mitchell as the most dazzling British novelist of his generation

by Alexander Linklater

Does it matter what books a novelist has written before? Should readers need to know an author’s preceding works fully to grasp the new one?

It might simply have been a parlour game for fans and critics, but a subsidiary pleasure of David Mitchell’s four previous novels lay in his weaving together of motifs, both within his stories and between them. In a typical manoeuvre, an incidental character from his first book, Ghostwritten (1999), would become a major one in his third, Cloud Atlas (2004). His fourth novel, Black Swan Green (2006), though more conventionally autobiographical than either, was littered with recurrences from, and clues to, both – as if worlds, both real and fictional, were endlessly intersecting.

Read the full article here: