Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Monday, January 12, 2009

Adjusting my blogging and reading habits

I'm not an author but I followed a link from Clea Simon's blog to Candid Canine where she wrote Writing Tip 13: Exercise. Wrote Simon, "the ability to write is like building a muscle. The more you exercise it, the easier it will become." That's true regardless of what one is writing. I spent the weekend staring at the screen desperate to finish writing up the last few book of 2008. "Why is it so hard to begin", I asked. Now I would answer, "because you are not writing enough" and probably would have added an expletive. So here I am seeing what I can come up with between reviews.

From the reviews I post you can deduce that I mainly read recent crime/mystery/suspense novels. I'm working on changing that in two ways.

First - I just finished two book each by Dorothy B. Hughes and Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. All four books were published in the mid-1940s. They are good reads and I decided that I should balance reading recently published with older works. One aim would be to get a better sense of how the genre has evolved,or not evolved. David Thompson of Busted Flush Press pointed me to Stark House Press. Both are reprint companies and I recommend looking at their titles. Good stuff there.

Second - Leonard Cassuto's book, Hard-Boiled Sentimentality, showed me that I can combine my love of the crime genre with Literature with a capital "L". Cassuto discusses Theodore Dreiser's classic about the American dream gone bad, An American Tragedy. It is a story of murder and Clyde Griffiths' motivation for murder isn't different from what we read as crime stories. R.N. Morris is kindly sending me a copy of his latest book, A Vengeful Longing. His character is Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, another classic that involves a murder investigation.

I have both books in front of me and they will test my resolve. An American Tragedy resembles a brick and and has 856 pages. Crime and Punishment has 536 pages and the type is tiny. We will see if there is anything of the literature major left in me.