Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book review: "Murder Below Montparnasse" by Cara Black : Ground Zero

Book review: "Murder Below Montparnasse" by Cara Black : Ground Zero

If Paris had nonething outstanding about it, except for Aimee Leduc, I would still crave to go there.  Leduc is one of my favorite protagonists in all of crime fiction genre.  This is simply an outstanding book and a thrilling outing for the Parisian Private Eye. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Book review: 'Salinger' by David Shields and Shane Salerno : Ground Zero

Book review: 'Salinger' by David Shields and Shane Salerno : Ground Zero

My heart was somewhat broken after reading this vital biography on the man.  He had many internal demons that he couldn't handle, it seems.  Nonetheless, whatever is waiting to see the light of day, brilliant, good or less than that, there is no taking back the importance of JD Salinger's already published work.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

WGA Nominates Best Screenplays

Original screenplay:
“American Hustle” (written by Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)
“Blue Jasmine” (Woody Allen)
“Dallas Buyers Club” (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)
“Her” (Spike Jonze)
“Nebraska” (Bob Nelson)
Adapted screenplay:
“August: Osage County” (Tracy Letts, based on his play)
“Before Midnight” (Richard Linklater,Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, based on characters created by Mr. Linklater and Kim Krizan)
“Captain Phillips” (Billy Ray, based on a book by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty)
“Lone Survivor” (Peter Berg, based on a book by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson)
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Terence Winter, based on a book by Jordan Belfort)

Documentary screenplay
“Dirty Wars” (Jeremy Scahill, David Riker)
“Herblock – The Black & The White” (Sara Lukinson, Michael Stevens)
“No Place on Earth” (Janet Tobias, Paul Laikin)
“Stories We Tell” (Sarah Polley)
“We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” (Alex Gibney)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Elmore Leonard Redux

Years ago, Elmore Leonard published his Ten Rules of Writing.  The final rule states: Try to leave out the part that readers skip.  Well, reading technology now makes that easier to do for writers. 

In an article written by David Streitfeld in today's New York Times, several start-ups in reading technology will be able to track how far readers get in an ebook, what parts they linger on and what parts of a book they skip over.  Streitfeld quotes Mark Coker, the chief executive of Smashwords, an independent publisher, as saying, "Self-published writers are going to eat this up."  Maybe not just them, however.  A Harper Collins executive stated that her company would "absolutely" provide this information to their authors.

Several trends already gleaned by Oyster, a New York-based subscription reading service, seem to be useful to any crime fiction writer.  Mystery readers tend to skip to the end of very long novels to see who did it.  Readers in general are twenty-five percent more likely to finish a book that is written in short chapters (this lends itself to reading on iphones, Streifeld notes). 

Yet, how many authors want to be told to write short chapters, shorter mystery novels, or for example, put more sex scenes in because your readers will linger longer on those pages?  The Harper Collins executive acknowledges that writing is a personal, mysterious process. 

Years ago Elmore Leonard was saying what reading technology is now able to concretize.  No one wants to read or write a formulaic book, but with readers' attention pulled in so many different media directions, every little bit helps today's earnest writer build his fan base.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Homeland Finale Season Three

I don't understand the negative criticism being leveled at the show's producers/writers for Homeland's Season Three ending.

The Brody arc was complete.  There was no other rational conclusion for the character.  I read somewhere that the writers/producers should have concluded with a non-realistic happy ending.  That's silly.  Brody is too complex for that.  Likewise, Mathison.  Likewise, the viewers.  At one point in the last episode, Brody begged for it to be over.  At another point, Mathison is told that Brody is at peace.  This is the best ending, though not a happy one.

I also read somewhere that the episode should have ended at the hanging.  It was asserted that the producers/writers missed the best dramatic conclusion.  Well, I agree that it would have been a devastating, dramatic ending.  However, it woudl also be leaving lots of questions unanswered for Season Four.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with the way they chose to close the episode, close the Brody arc and introduce the next phase of the show.  The producers/writers bodly proclaimed to the world that Homeland will go on and that it can go on.  They showed that there is more to this dynamic and vital series than the Brody-Mathison story.  And they showed that Mathison is the primary star of this series.  Kudos to them.

I read that fans will not be anticipating Season Four due to the mediocre handling of Season Three's final episode.  Well, I think the real fans are not only hanging tough, but wishing Season Four started tomorrow.  How can you not be anticipating what lies ahead for Carrie in Istanbul, or Saul in New York? 

Homeland endured growing pains in Season Three and came out matured.