"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Book Reviews a la Gullible

Not Enough Information?

One of the best reading adventures I’ve had on my new Kindle was while sitting poolside in Mazatlan, reading about the early explorations of the Amazon River.

Writing instructors tell us to take care when choosing a title for our stories. The title must be a zinger, something that will grab a potential reader’s attention and persuade him to purchase the book.

Not being among the cognoscenti of things Amazon, I skipped across the book “The Lost City of Z” several times, but it kept popping up in front of me on the Amazon (another Amazon) Kindle list of books available. It sounded like a science fiction book. Then I read the sub-title, another important feature in non-fiction books: “A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.” Okay, another Livingston/Stanley/Victoria Falls thing, I thought. I checked a bit father and ordered it. Somehow, I ordered both the Kindle and hardcover editions.

Am I glad I did. The actual book has pictures! This adventure story by David Grann that equals “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. I recommend “The Lost City of Z” is you love adventure/exploration stories.

Too Much Information?

Patricia Cornwell’s newest in the Kay Scarpetta series is an interesting exercise in propelling action and the story through dialogue, another little thingy writing instructors tell us is the whole point of written dialogue.

Excerpt from The Scarpetta Factor, by Patricia Cornwell:

Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta:

“Insect damage doesn’t necessarily mean the person who shed hair is dead… If you naturally shed hair in your home, in your car, in your garage, the hair can be and in fact likely will be damaged by insects.”

Character Carley Crispin:

“Maybe you can explain to our viewers how insects damage hair.”


“They eat it. Microscopically, you can see the bite marks. If you find hair with that type of damage, you generally assume the hair wasn’t shed recently.”

Uh-h-h-h…. Excuse me. I have to go vacuum now.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect insects aren't waiting for me to shed hair before they start taking bites. I've had some bad hair days recently and at least now I have a valid excuse.