Author Archive


Gone Girl

Gone Girl

I had just set aside a novel that didn’t merit my time. (Okay, I threw it aside.) Then I picked up Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a blockbuster novel of 2012, and from page one I knew I could relax into expert hands. Gone Girl is one of those un-put-downable books that keeps you reading with [...]

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine

I rarely read the same book twice and I don’t always read the latest thing. I like snooping around independent book stores for new and used treasures. I read everything from classics to junk (only the finest junk, of course). But the most recent treasure I discovered was on my own bookshelf. I’d read Ray [...]

Singled Out

Singled Out

In 1917, the senior mistress of Bournemouth High School for Girls in Dorset in the United Kingdom spoke to the sixth form class: “I have come to tell you a terrible fact. Only one out of ten of you girls can ever hope to marry. This is not a guess of mine. It is a [...]

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King

If you ask me for a list of my favorite authors, Stephen King won’t be on it. This isn’t because I don’t like his novels. I can’t even read them. I’ve tried, but I’m never able to get past a few pages because the guy is so good at what he does. “Wimp,” you say, [...]

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

By the Buried Life (Jonnie Penn, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn, and Ben Mentin) When my middle-aged friend gave middle-aged me a copy of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? I thought, “this is a bunch of boys running around on road trips. It sounds like fun, but I don’t have time for [...]

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell explores family, peer pressure, hell and the occult. But what struck me most is how the story speaks of ignorance and innocence. Throughout Swamplandia!, author Karen Russell leads the reader along the fine line between fantasy and reality. The Bigtree family has created their own history (they’re not Native Americans, but their [...]

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I picked up a copy of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout several months ago, read about twenty pages, and put it down. I didn’t like it. It seemed cold and sad. But it won a Pulitzer, for god’s sake, so I put it on the shelf, thinking there must be something worthwhile in it and maybe [...]

Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising

There’s a place somewhere between the overdone, show-off prose of some “literary” fiction, and the merely serviceable, pulp genre stuff. In either case, the language can kick you out of the story. “That’s a beautiful sentence!” you think. Or “This is godawful stuff.” It doesn’t matter which, because the same thing happens. For a moment, [...]

Americashire

Americashire

Lately I’ve been reading memoirs. It surprises me that I like them so much because I tend to read novels, and because I write fiction. I can’t imagine writing my own memoir. Too many people are still around to find out about it and hate me for it. I suppose I could sugarcoat it but [...]

Running With Scissors

Running With Scissors

A memoir by Augusten Burroughs Born into an already troubled family— —wait. Let’s tell it like it is. Because in Augusten Burroughs’ memoir, Running With Scissors, he tells it like it was. And it was weird. Born into a totally screwed-up family, with an alcoholic father and a psychotic mother who fought raging battles on [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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