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Archive for October, 2011

Got a Book Idea? Don’t Pitch It This Way.

I’m quite certain this is a hoax, but it’s funny anyway.

The Dragons Den is a Canadian reality show in which people go in front of a panel of judges, show their business idea/invention, and then ask for financial support.

What happens when a self-described “unknown, mid-list,” crazy, instable author, with a weird, creepy assistant, comes on and ask for $250,000 to write her third book? A lot of awkwardness, that’s what.

And you’ve got to love her answer to the question, “What are your margins?”

We writers tend to overvalue our work sometimes (here’s another example), and this is a hilarious illustration, even if it is a joke.

Note: Because of some language, you might not want to watch this with kids–but why are you reading my blog with kids anyway?

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Fess Up: The Book You’ve Never Read

You love books. That’s why you’re reading this post right now. I imagine that someone who reads one book a decade probably doesn’t read my blog. That’s just a guess.

So the fact that you love books tells me you’ve probably read a lot of them.

Me too. But, even so, I’m sure you’ve had this type of conversation:

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Lord Have Mercy, It’s Walker Percy!

You must be asking yourself, What’s up with that title?

Good question. One of the most difficult parts of writing a blog, for me, is coming up with a somewhat interesting post title every day. I thought I’d spice it up today with a little rhyming action–no real purpose. Watch out for alliteration in the future. Maybe some onomatopoeia. Now, on to the real content.

Before I started reading The Moviegoer, I knew very little about Walker Percy.

I knew he was a highly-acclaimed writer. I knew my friend Cameron was a fan of Percy. But that’s about it.

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101 Books FAQ

Before I start today’s post, I’ll let you know that Watchmen and Lolita won the “runoff” voting yesterday. So that means the next five, in no particular order, will be Never Let Me Go, Animal Farm, Beloved, Watchmen, and Lolita. Thanks for voting!

Now, on to today’s regularly scheduled post…

After the Freshly Pressed feature on Friday, I’ve had a lot of new visitors and subscribers over the weekend.

And since I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, I thought now would be a great time to write a 101 Books FAQ–many of which are questions I’ve been asked, some of which are questions I ask myself when I interview myself. You don’t do that?

I’ll make this a new “page” at the top of the blog menu, if you’re interested in taking a look at it in the future.

So here you go:

What’s the point of 101 Books?

Other than reading through 101 books, all on Time Magazine’s list of ALL-TIME novels published since 1923? I like to read. I like lists. I like big projects. I like blogging. Why not? When I started the blog, I thought I’d simply write a “review” of each book, with a related post here and there, maybe once a week. But the blog slowly morphed into a 5-day-a-week deal, and I’m loving it.

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The First Ever 101 Books Runoff!

If you’ve read this blog for at least a few months, you know that I enjoy letting the blog readers pick what I read next. I put a post up asking for votes on Friday, and I gave you all weekend to vote. The result? Well, we had a tie.

I asked you guys to pick the next five, but we had a four-way tie for the fourth book. So that means we’re having the first ever 101 Books “runoff.” I know election year isn’t until 2012, but work with me here.

Here are the three books that are in:

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Flannery O’ Connor And The Backwards-Walking Chicken

Who knew that Flannery O’ Connor had such a talent with chickens? Or Virginia Woolf was such a prankster?

Publishers Weekly recently listed several authors famous for something else, in addition to their books.

Here’s a sampling:

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My Future Is In Your Hands: Pick The Next 5

At least my immediate future.

We’ve done this several times before, so this is nothing new.

But I’m opening the ballot box today and letting you–all of you who read this blog regularly or even, you, the weird guy who googled Judy Blume and found this blog–pick ALL FIVE of my next reads. All of them.

Of course, I want just a teeny bit of control, so I’m going to list a few books that I’m saving for later, either because of length or “just because.”

So vote to your heart’s content. Vote for one, vote for all five, or anything in between. Just get your votes in before midnight Sunday (U.S. Central Time). I’ll tally the votes and let you know what’s coming next in Tuesday’s post.

Here are the books I want to save for later:

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The “Slow-Release Drug” Effect of Great Novels

1961 was quite a year for books.

In that year, Walker Percy released The Moviegoer, Joseph Heller released Catch 22, and Richard Yates released Revolutionary Road.

All three books were finalists for the 1962 National Book Award, which The Moviegoer eventually won.

Fifty years later, all three of these incredible novels celebrate their golden anniversary. Jim Santel from The Millions recently discussed how these three books—but mainly The Moviegoer—affected him.

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Next Up: The Moviegoer

I know very little about Book #28: The Moviegoer.

From what I’ve read, the story centers on a New Orleans stockbroker who basically travels the country to discover some type of meaning to his life.

I have heard Walker Percy, and that’s the main reason I’m excited about reading this book. He’s a widely-praised writer with an almost poetic style to his storytelling.

A few quick facts about The Moviegoer and its author:

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Book #27: The Sound And The Fury

Reading The Sound and The Fury helped me realize something important: This 101 book project is a lot like marathon training.

Over the course of the 16 weeks I trained, I made somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 70 runs. Every now and then, maybe once every 10 runs, I would step outside, walk down my driveway, and seriously consider skipping that training run.

I just didn’t want to put in the effort that day. I felt unmotivated and thought, What’s it going to hurt to skip one 5 mile run anyway? But I willed myself to put one foot in front of the other. And after about 45 minutes of running, I completed my mileage goal for the day.

Even if I was simply going through the motions–getting the “mileage in”–I still felt a sense of accomplishment, satisfied that I had fought through that desire to quit.

The Sound and The Fury was a lot like those training runs. No doubt, I went through the motions of reading this book. This novel is recognized as William Faulkner’s premier work. It’s ranked as the sixth greatest novel on the Modern Library list. It’s a classic in every sense of the word.

And now, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I can check book #27 off the list.

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