' truth is sifted from falsehood in everything that has been preserved for us through long centuries by those vulgar traditions which, since they have been preserved for so long a time and by entire peoples, must have had a public ground of truth.'
on Friday, March 29th, 2013, 12:30-1:50 p.m.
at Case Western Reserve University, Clark 309, 11130 Bellflower Rd.
5. On Saturday, April 20 2013, Heritage Presbyterian Church in Amherst, Ohio (corner of Route 2 and 58) is hosting a writer's conference organized by the International Writer's Association for only $10!
I was just re-reading your kind note long ago regarding the first half or so of Author In Search Of Six Characters. . .and had to express myself because of your warm comments..belated thanks as I relive your generous reaction Joel
the new york times recently carried an interesting article on the use of the computer in the expansion of literary research. 'Dan Cohen and Fred Gibbs, the two historians of science at George Mason University who have created the project<see below>, have so far charted how frequently more than two dozen words — among them “God,” “love,” “work,” “science” and “industrial” — appear in British book titles from the French Revolution in 1789 to the beginning of World War I in 1914. To Mr. Cohen, the sharply jagged lines that dance across his graphs can be used to test some of the most deeply entrenched beliefs about the Victorians, like their faith in progress and science: “We can finally and truly test these and other fundamental claims that have been at the heart of Victorian studies for generations.”
for example the use of the word 'science' reaches a peak in 1874. this shows 'the age's growing interest in science, but may also reflect change's in the word's meaning.'
i have an addition to my critique of atkinson's Hemingway Cutthroat: A Mystery (Thomas Dunne Books). at the time of reading it, all of a week ago, i wondered why all of his geographic, political, and other spanish-specific references sounded so familiar. i now i think that much of his research must be based on orwell's homage to catalonia, which i, too, re-read not so long ago. this is meant as a commendation.
i can't believe that i don't have time or space to get to the scotch police (procedural (?) no, detective story? somewhat,) fun book. yes that i'm reading now. next time. for m. c. beaton's Death of a Valentine.
and i understand that the master (no, not henry james, but rather p.d.) has written a book called Talking About Detective Fiction. i'll try to get it. should be an informative read.
if you are looking for good reads to give for christmas, hannakah, birthday, anniversary, etc. presents, remember audrey lavin's Eloquent Blood and Eloquent Corpse: A Murder Mystery. if you'll go to amazon.com and type in either my name or one of the titles, you'll be able to purchase it for delivery in a few days.
the comments printed below have been culled from the far-reaching ones i've received recently. again, they range from (usually benign) words on the blog itself to thoughtful pieces on quest literature.
not all comments are complimentary: in answer to the question, have you read my blog lately?'sure haven't. how wacky!' from t. journal, unknown locale.
and from someone in arizona who hasn't gotten around to it yet, 'My printer sent me 10 pages!! I'm working on it.'
more representative of remarks received is b.m's from ohio: 'i read it at 2 a.m. today! very interesting! enjoyed it! now back to bed!'
an interesting note from our correspondent and critic in honolulu: 'Hiram Bingham III is just one of the fascinating characters in his family. His grandfather was a member of the original Congregational missionaries to Hawaii. His grandson was a Marxist charged with being involved in a black Panther shooting in San Quentin prison. He was a fugitive for several years; gave himself up and was acquitted. The last I heard of him was that he was in a store-front law office dedicated to helping the poor.
The book on this family is called Fathers and Sons, the Bingham Family and the American Mission (American Civilization) by Char Miller. It is one of my favorite books on Hawaii, such a favorite I cannot find it on my bookshelves.'
before i get to goddard, i'll end the comments on the explorations and curious george blog with bill h. from atherton, ca's summation and suggestions for further reading:
Yes, indeed, and actually read Lost City of Z – in fact a book called “1491” by Charles Mann, wrote about what the Western Hemisphere was like before the arrival of Columbus and the rest of the Conquista.. When Pizarro conquered Peru in the early 1500’s, he sent an exploration party to the east, and crossed the Andes into the Amazon basin, seeking what was purported to be a City of Gold. There were stories about this that the Indian tribes of the Andes had heard about. Apparently the expedition came across many wonders – animal life, flora and fauna, but no gold. Most of these guys were lost and there were only a few survivors who made it back to Spain, among them the Leader of the group/ He told of a City of Emeralds, and gold, and governed by very large and strong women. (Hence the word – Amazonian Women – big and strong – so they say), and he also reported that the men did all the work, in the fields, in the home, and the women were the warriors. Of course, no one in Spain believed a word he wrote or said, nor did anyone else in Europe. He made a trip to the Amazon, via the Amazon River, some five years later, only never to be heard from again.
So, I read 1491 some years ago, which prompted me to read “Z” - so it was kind of anticlimactically, before I knew all along, that there WAS in fact, a lost City , and the story took 300 pages to get to it. Anyway, I always enjoy stories like this . In this week's issue of the New Yorker, there is a wonderful story of the first person to reach the North Pole area, and he did it in a balloon, or tried to, and in 1897. His remains, along with his two fellow adventurers, were found in l930 ......He got the idea visiting the US World s Fair in Philadelphia in 1876.......He was Swedish and the King of Sweden financed him because the King thought it was only proper that a Swede be the first to navigate the North Pole.
Anyway, now I am reading the Pink Panthers (last week’s feature piece in the New Yorker, ) about the biggest and most organized criminal minds ever to rob the most expensive jewelry stores all over the world .They are in fact, young Serbian 20/25 and 30 /35year old kids who survived the war in the Balkans (Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro –during the 1990’s)...This is their way of making a living, because after the war, there was no plan to help Serbian people, no work for them, and robbing high class jewelry stores was a good way to survive. Boring this story is not, and how clever one can learn to be when all it gets down to is = survival of the fittest. Anyway, this is my “blog” for the day, not exactly your format , but nevertheless, the intent seems to be the same.
i should talk about at least one new book i've read, so here are a few words on robert goddard's Long Time Coming: A Novel. first of all, it is a spy story, not the usual genre i discuss or even enjoy, though i certainly liked le carre's the spy who came in from the cold, as well as most of his other novels. most spy stories are too unnecessarily complicated for me. i wouldn't mind the complications if they served some purpose, but in general and in the novel specifically, the complications are to no avail. goddard seems to realize the interweavings of plot lines and every so often (ex. p. 771) repeats the story for the reader. the plot moves back and forth between two time zones ( 1976 and 1940) and a number of geographic zones, basically Ireland, England, and Nazi Germany. it also involves diamonds from Africa and, most importantly, forged Picassos.
The story starts with the appearance of Uncle Eldritch who the family thought was dead. It turns out that he has been in an Irish prison these past 36 years. the reason is revealed near the end of the book. it has to do with an attempted assassination that he really didn't have anything to do with. for a crook, he seems terribly trusting. in case you were wondering, there is also a love interest or two. published by bantam books, the novel is 420 pages long. readers of spy stories might enjoy it.
first, dear readers, i need your help in regard to the internet and one of its many mysteries that is slowly driving me mad, mad, mad i tell you.
as those of you who are reading this page know, it takes the typing (i say, 'typing in' and 'typing out' would mean the same thing in this sentence, wouldn't they?) of an extremely awkward url to get here: <indianhillmediaworks.typepad.com/whodunit/>. i cleverly, i thought, found a short cut: <whodunit? +blog> . i tried it any number of times; it always worked. this blog was the first item listed on about ten pages of 'whodunit' references. now it and i have disappeared from this listing. the blog is gone from 'whodunit? +blog.' where did it/i go?
back to <indianhillmediaworks.typepad.com/whodunit/ >
and back to books. i have, as usual, just finished one mystery (fatally flaky by diane motts) and started another (legal tenderby lisa scottoline), but i am also reading three books that are not mysteries. what happens when i read a number of books at the same time is that i find unexpected similarities that make me think. maybe it is that i am unable to hold three different ideas in my head and that they leak into each other. whatever the cause, i find that the two creative non-fiction books and the one work of fiction enliven each other and enliven me in ways that they would not if i read them separately. the two non-fiction books are the botany of desire by michael pollan and life list by olivia gentile. the book of fiction is atlas shrugged by ayn rand. i should add that i am also writing a book that young man eloquent (working title) in which our amateur detectives mary beth and tony happily find themselves 'in the zone.' as i was writing this, i thought of the three books who, without using that phrase, refer to the same kind of ecstasy or one-ness.
gentile's life listis the story of phoebe snetsinger, a bird watcher extrordinaire, the first person to see eight thousand species--'disregarding the cost to her family, her health and her safety,' as the book jacket says. this is a woman with a soul-stirring obsession, in true ecstasy when she was birding. a 'life list' for anyone wondering is the list of all species the birder keeping the list has seen in his or her life. you can do it on line now. my own list is scattered among the more than twenty field guides i have used in different countries.
pollan's the botany of desire illustrates the reciprocal relationship between people and plants. he chooses four disparate plants to write about, plants that illustrate four of his points: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. at times his writing is excellent, at times one wonders why he didn't have a good editor. he does make frequent use of most interesting quotes, but he also assumes the pathetic fallacy by using too many active verbs for plants. but that's another story. what is applicable here is his comments on marijuana and similar drugs that can artificially produce what mary beth and phoebe snetsinger (don't you love her already?) come by naturally.
and you know who else comes naturally by that 'in the zone' enhancement of feeling? it is all of the heroes and the heroine of ayn rand's atlas shrugged. when they are working at a business or an enterprise that is something they believe in, they do not see or hear anything else. man, they are totally in the zone, ecstatic, at one with themselves and their lives. only they understand.
reading these three books in tandem continues to be a great experience for me. separately or together and recognizing flaws, i think you will enjoy them, too.