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My Recent Reading Exploits

Posted by Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa , in Bibliophilism Aug 16 2012 · 210 views

Inanities aside, let's get on to things that really matter, huh?

. . . Books! Reviews for three I have recently read.

The Film Mystery by Arthur B. Reeve

Let me just say . . . yelch. Though it was a well-plotted mystery, the revelation and the solution itself were awful. And there's certainly nothing in his writing style, in its own right a bit hard to swallow at times, to make a bad mystery worth suffering. That's the first, and last, that I'll read of his novels. So I won't waste any more time talking further about the book.

I'm glad it was free on Kindle. :P

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Oh--my--pencil. I loved this novel! Nothing beats a good study in human nature, and this was, the good and the bad. It was a fascinating, intricately woven world, that little Maycomb, which shows that people are people in big city or small town. It reminds me of Miss Marple's St. Mary Mead.

One thing I enjoyed in particular was that it had no corporeal plot, and yet, it did. For one thing, we had one passing comment on the first page that drew us from the first to the last with an invisible string. And no matter what else went on throughout the story, the titular mockingbird was the centerpiece of the book. There we find a truly, truly fascinating character. I can't say too much without giving anything away, but I will say that that character is now one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. And the whole ending itself was wonderfully executed. The whole novel was worth reading, and yet those final two or three chapters were what made it impossibly beyond worthwhile.

I am the type of person who likes a tangibility in his stories, a structural integrity into which I can bite; this so wonderfully had a very powerful structure, yet none at all, which makes it an amazing magic-trick of penmanship.

My one complaint was her profusion of information dumps. Especially toward the beginning, Harper Lee left us intermittent mires of detail for us to wallow in. But the engaging way in which she laid down all this information provided a steppingstone path through the bog, which again leaves me wondering at her uncanny ability to make good into great, bad into good, and great into greater.

When I finished, I closed the book, sat down, stroked the cover, and murmured, "Wow. That was spectacular." Fully sated, I just relaxed there for maybe thirty minutes, savoring the flavor.

Definitely one of the better books I have ever read. And you're telling me this amazing woman only ever wrote one novel?

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If there's one author who deserves to succeed To Kill a Mockingbird, it's the illustrious Agatha Christie. It's hard to say which of her works are her best, because they all are. Hence, this was one of her best. Maybe better than that.

As is typical of her mysteries, and maybe most mysteries, it started out a little slow and I had trouble getting interested. But then the investigation starts and begins to pick up. Maybe that's what I like about mysteries; they start you out on ground level and then carry you to the top floor, and in Agatha Christie's case, through the roof on a lift akin to Willy Wonka's glass elevator.

Of course I can't say anything about the solution without spoiling an intricately woven imbroglio, but I can say that as usual my suspicions were entirely elsewhere when Agatha moved her finger toward the real criminal, and left me saying: "Of course! Of course! I should have seen it!" That's the most important quality of any mystery. It should seem obvious, it should seem you came close to solving it yourself, without anything of the kind being remotely true.

I can comment, of course, on characters. Agatha Christie always fills her mansions or, as in this case, villages with a colorful panoply of characters, from the hated, to the loved, to the hilarious. The Vicar was a pleasant character and he had a very sweet wife. Agatha's elderly women are always hilariously vexing, and Miss Marple's saving grace is that she's drop-dead ingenious.

While I highly recommend it, I caution you to find an edition from a different publisher. At least in this case, the errata were a few too many for my tastes.

Now I've started 100%: The Story of a Patriot, by Upton Sinclair. Not enthralling me thus far. I'll probably be putting it aside, now that I've gotten word back from most of my alpha readers, to read over my novel and begin revision. But when I get back to 100% and finish it, I'll let you know.

Until next time,

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

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To be honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of her Murder at the Vicarage. Well, I guess it'd be more accurate to say I'm not the biggest fan of her Miss Marple series. I find her Poirot mysteries to be far more enjoyable (though then again, I haven't read one of her Miss Marple stories in about three years. Maybe I'd feel differently about them now, but I just remember that when I did read a couple, they didn't interest me nearly as much). I also love some of her stand-alone novels, such as And Then There Were None (my goodness is that a fantastic story).

But I definitely agree with you on the rest of your points -- Agatha Christie is simply a fantastic mystery writer.

I loved To Kill A Mockingbird as well, but unfortunately I don't remember it all that well as I read it hundreds of books ago, 4 years ago the summer before Freshman year as summer reading. Maybe I'll just have to read it again some time.

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Dramatis Personae


A young man with his feet on the ground and his head in the sky, and an inclination to implement the occasional headstand.

Nuile, Wordsmith

Penman of a number of BIONICLE and Neopets short stories, as well as three epics, based respectively on the aforementiond and Avatar: The Last Airbender. This writer has also penned a full-length mystery novel, a work in progress pending final revisions and publication.

More than that, the BZPower League of Authors was his brainchild, which he has developed into the Ambage with the help of Velox, Cederak and 55555. This refuge and practice arena for writers is open to all with a penchant for the literary arts.

Nuile, Bibliophile

For him to select a favorite book, or a favorite writer, would be impossible. But of the latter, he most admires Dame Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harper Lee, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Sinclair Lewis. Favorite books he includes in this chart:

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

The Moonstone (Collins)

Murder on the Orient Express, Death in the Clouds, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Clocks (Christie)

The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Lost World (Doyle)

Out of the Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)

Free Air (Sinclair Lewis)

The Bat (Hopwood and Rinehart)

The Nine Tailors (Sayers)

Nuile, Cinéaste

This fellow thinks the world begins and ends with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Before its birth, however, he confesses that Sam Raimi and David Koepp's Spider-Man, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer's Batman Begins, the Indiana Jones series, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins were films more than worthy of watching.

Nuile, Television Viewer

The Dick Van Dyke Show by far surpasses any television show produced prior or hence. Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show are excellent series from a similar time frame. MacGyver is hard to beat. Diagnosis Murder, Monk and Murder, She Wrote are his favorite mystery series. In animation he most enjoys Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel; Batman: The Animated Series alongside Batman Beyond and The Batman; Phineas and Ferb, one of the most creatively funny cartoons he has ever seen.

Nuile, Cuisinier

Asian and Italian foods may be his enthusiasms, but he's not above a juicy burger or a spicy taco. As far as his own cooking, he oft gets more adventurous than his family appreciates, though when he behaves he can conjure a reason for your taste buds to celebrate. By far his favorite meal: Thanksgiving 2011, consisting of Paula Dean's Indian Succotash, Grean Bean Casserole, Orange Corn Bread, Bacon Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Coconut Biscuits, and Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes.

Nuile, Musicologist

He pleads guilty to sheer ignorance, unworthy even of being called an amateur in this department. But dramatic scores and profound lyrics top his charts. The Impossible Dream from The Man of La Mancha and I Can Go the Distance as performed by Michael Bolton are cited as his two favorite songs, amidst much of Celtic Thunder's work.

Nuile, Gamer

Disney's Epic Mickey, the Kingdom Hearts series, and the Pokémon series are the only video games he considers worthy of notation.

Nuile, Sportsman

As fast on his feet as he is between the ears, he enjoys games of muscle and of strategy. Physically, he likes most to play football; but nothing beats a game of chess in his book.

The Art of Writing

It is my belief that a writer should be above human emotions, desires, vices, flaws; a writer should be almost superhuman, something like a monk. However, like monks, this is not an attribute that comes naturally, rather an ability that must be worked at.

More tangibly, one of the most important characteristics a writer can possess is tenacity. An artist's life is never an easy one. An artist presents themself to the world, and ineluctably there will be critics alongside the fans. But anyone who knows real love won't let it be quelled by what others think. Never give up, never despond. So maybe nobody's perfect; I'm not, and I never will be. But an artist, like a monk, is one who always strives to improve her- or himself, who never ceases to reach for the unreachable. Every amelioration is an achievement. And every day a writer achieves something merely by writing, for every word written is a word toward amelioration. If you are good, you can always be better; if you are great, you can always be greater.

What matters most for writers is that they take pride in their own own work. Ultimately your biggest fan and your biggest critic is yourself, and that's who you have to please the most. No artist truly passionate about their art does what they do for someone's approval or just to get paid. At the heart of every artist is a person who does what they do because they love to do it. I'm an artist; I'm a writer. I don't stop trying to get better, I don't stop striving for perfection--but I enjoy every step of the amelioration process, I appreciate every improvement, and I am always happy with where I am, yet always be eager about where I'm going. Writing is a journey with no destination. Writing is a quest without end. Writing is spiritual nomadism.

And it's not easy. It's frought with difficulty, trouble, disappointment, and grief--but a journey without end gives its reward not in the destination but in every step of the path.

Yet I have not even touched upon just what a writer is; which is because a writer, simply put, is everything. A writer is an artist, but also a psychologist, and a logician, a philosopher, a scientist, an adventurer, an inventor, a politician, a magician, and multitudinous others. A writer is everything because they write about everything. "Write what you know"; that's not the rule I live by. "Know what you write," that's my creed. Writers know a little about everything, and everything about a little. And when they don't know . . . they read!

That's a writer's life. It's the kind of life I love. It's a wonderful gift. A writer's life is the kind of life I live and always will live. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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[9:26:46 PM] Aimee: it is so adorable how authors have favorite authors
[9:27:25 PM] Andrew P: You're an author. You have favorite authors. =P
[9:27:39 PM] Aimee: yes and i get to talk to them on skype all day

- A Geste of the Ambage Chat


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Some random air-head decided to be pompous and condescending and "honor" me with his approbation. I guess there's a pride of some sort in being recognized by the mentally unsound. It makes me feel special--or weird, one of those two. Thanks, Tekulo!