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The Year in Review: Reading

Posted by Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa , in Wordsmithery Dec 31 2012 · 74 views

In checking my notes I found, rather to my disappointment, that I have read little over twenty novels in the past year. Not a very significant number at all, and not a very satisfying one, but there you go. Nothing can be done about it now! The past cannot be changed. But that is the point of this reflection, is it not? Evaluating the past to better plan for the future.
 
To Kill a Mockingbird is easily the best novel I've read this year. I believe I already reviewed it some months ago in early October. The vitality, realism and warmth of her characters and story are such as to be irrefragibly lauded, and to leave the reader wishing Harper Lee had not started and ended her career in the same novel, though it is certainly a more than respectable accomplishment for one writer.
 
Free Air was one of the first books I read this year and I loved it. I saw some of myself and my life in the characters and the story, which is always one of the reasons any reader likes a book. Moreover, this is one of the sweetest, most charming romances I have ever read. Sinclair Lewis's style is engaging, his portrayals of the characters and emotions vivid and even poignant. I am not unemotional but I am stoic, and am not easily moved to laughter, nor to tears, and it is one of the greatest comments I can pay an author that he moved me to both.
 
Now, this may sound strange to you, but Tarzan of the Apes was highly redolent of Free Air for me. The latter was was written in 1919 while Tarzan itself was written in 1914, and thus they share a not dissimilar era. But their real resemblance is in the romantic story. It was very touching, even heartbreaking. Otherwise this story has some of the most thrilling action that can be found in literature of more than a hundred years in antiquity, in the midst of beautiful descriptions of the jungle, its denizens, and its enchantments. The depths of the psyche it explores are fascinating, as well. The worst I can say is that Burroughs was no stedfast believer in the writing precept "show don't tell," which at times would have done him much good, while at others he embraced it, while at others still he defied it.
 
I will more briefly recapsulate some of the other highlights of my literary sallies this year. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, was another romance that touched me; Warriors: Omen of the Stars: The Last Hope by Erin Hunter was the epic conclusion to a series I have been following for five, six, possibly seven years; The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood is a brilliant mystery; The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers, . Lastly, The Secret of Chimneys, written by the inestimable Agatha Christie, an authoress nonpareil in the mystery genre, was another brilliant work that stepped, not without keeping its roots firmly planted, out of the traditional detective fiction genre into adventure thriller territory.
 
 
Regrets! Do I have regrets? Further, I should say; apart from the paltry number of works of fiction I have read in the past year. Are there books I wish I had not read? Yes. The Film Mystery by Arthur B. Reeve, and both A Taste for Death and The Black Tower by P.D. James are stains in my memory that will always remind me how not to write detective fiction. It is a genre of the highest standards and the most honorable traditions; and though in modern days it has been deeply tainted, the heart that lies in the Golden Age shall always continue to beat in my own chest and in those of mystery readers and writers like myself. The Golden Age glows with such a resplendent luminosity as will never be dulled or extinguished! 
 
 
And before I conclude this entry, here's a list of some of the best short stories I've read on BZP this year:
 

Special

The Son Becomes the Father

Depression

Clockwork

Black Diamonds

 
Thanks to these authors, and to all the authors of BZP who make it such a great writing community! Moreover, thanks to the BZPower staff, for your recent gift of Off Topic Culture. All of you make the BZP libraries a great place to write.
 
Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:
 

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How was The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers? A family friend recommended her to me, and they say her books should be read in order to see the character development of Lord Peter Wimsey, so I'm trying to find all of her novels before I read them. =P But they sound very good, so I'm eager to. 

 

I definitely need to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird...I haven't read it since 9th grade, so don't remember it all that well. 

 

I'm also glad you recommended "Special" by Ezorov -- that's definitely one of my favorite short stories that I've read on BZPower. 

 

Sounds like you had a good year!

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Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
Jan 08 2013 09:40 PM

Prolix, dull, but brilliant. If you don't mind wading through an excess of detail, there's a compelling mystery buried in there.

 

Do so, it's a great book, and deserves the occasional re-read.

 

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

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Dramatis Personae

Nuile

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.

July 2014

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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!