Saturday, January 28, 2006

Horror King's Cell

Setephen King's much awaited novel Cell is now available. I haven't read King's Tower series, but his new novel is getting praise from all over. review begins with the line:

"Witness Stephen King's triumphant, blood-spattered return to the genre that made him famous."

And Publishers Weekly review starts with:

"What if a pulse sent out through cell phones turned every person using one of them into a zombie-like killing machine? "

An user, DanD writes:

"Remember the utter horror of "Pet Semetary?" Remember the oppressive atmosphere of "'Salem's Lot?" The stark hopelessness of "The Stand?" The unmentionable evil of "It?" Stephen King hasn't--though he has made some well-written departures from horror (wrapping up his "Dark Tower" series, and the non-story mystery "The Colorado Kid"), he returns to the horror genre with the impact of a .44 caliber--"Cell," his latest and most horrific book in years. "

May be I will read it, but I am not sure.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oprah and James Frey

Oprah is going to feature James Frey again. Why she is so agressively publicising James Frey? Steve Johnson on Hypertext writes:

Will she, on her show, with time to reflect, be a more staunch defender of truth, or at least of the idea that a good memoirist strives for truth even when embellishment would be more salable? I sincerely hope so, or at least that the panel's promised "leading journalists" will be allowed to make the case.

I fear, though, that this will provide still more whitewash on a dirty fence, more pabulum of the if-the-book-helped-one-person variety. (And never mind about all those it leaves feeling cheated and more lost than ever.)

James Frey's publisher Doubleday offers witnesses to NY Times to prove the accuracy of most parts of the book. These witnesses told NY Times that Frey's treatment descriptions in the book 'A Million Little Peices' are near to accurate but they didn't agree about Frey appearing with a hole in his cheek or the violent fights among patients.

Writer Jamie Berger has a whole blog devoted on this topic, 'Memoir is not Fiction'. He points out this interesting article from LA Weekly.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Novel: Arthur and George

Arthur and George by Julian BarnesShortlisted for Booker Prize, 'Arthur and George' is another beautiful novel from the author of Flaubert's Parrot and the Lemon Table, Julian Barnes. Arthur is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, physician, sportsman, gentleman and the creator of Sherlock Holmes; George is George Edalji also a real but less well known person. Arthur and George is the story of these two men whose lives intersect each other at one point. It is the novelized account of true incident in which Arthur Conan Doyle, battled to overturn the conviction of George Edalji, an English attorney of Indian origin who had been falsely accused of killing farm animals and writing threatening anonymous letters to his own family.

Contemporary writer Julian Barnes presents a story which has lots of research and very vivid imiagination behind it. The book begins from the childhood of both characters living far away from each other and very different environments. The fate brings them closer and begins a story of justice, law, crime, racial prejudice and spirituality.

Christian Science Monitor's book editor Marjorie Kehe writes about this novel:

On the contrary, if anything, Barnes gently mocks the Holmesian belief that life is a problem to be solved by logic and close observation. Instead, the story suggests, human justice can never be more than approximate because "truth" - always filtered through one individual consciousness or another - is so fluid a commodity.

What is real? When is goodness genuine? Can either innocence or love ever be absolute? And what is the nature of Doyle's attachment to spiritualism: a cruel hoax or something more enlightened? Such questions weave throughout the narrative.
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Monday, January 16, 2006

Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel's "Night" is on Oprah's book club selection. Night is a true of the horrors that Elie Wiesel witnessed as a young man at Auschwitz and Buchenwald the camps where his mother, father and sister were killed. it is a horrific and powerful autobiographical view of the Holocaust.

While the James Frey and Oprah controversy is still a hot debate, Oprah has picked up yet another memoir. While talking to New York Times author of Night, Elie Wiesel said:

Mr. Wiesel said he had not read Mr. Frey's book and could not comment on the controversy. He acknowledged that some people and institutions, including on occasion The New York Times, have referred to "Night" as a novel, "mainly because of its literary style."

"But it is not a novel at all," he said. "I know the difference," he added, noting that "Night" is the first of his 47 books, several of which are novels. "I make a distinction between what I lived through and what I imagined others to have lived through."

Author: Elie Wiesel

Eliezer Wiesel (born September 30, 1928) is a world-renowned novelist, philosopher, humanitarian, political activist, and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of over 40 books, the most famous of which, Night, is an autobiographical novella that describes his experiences during the Holocaust.

In 1986, Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called Wiesel a "messenger to mankind", noting that through his struggle to come to terms with "his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps", as well as his "practical work in the cause of peace", Wiesel has delivered a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity. Wiesel lives in the United States, where he teaches at Boston University and serves as the Chairman of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. (More on Elie Wiesel - Wikipedia)

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

James Frey and JT LeRoy

Meghan O'Rourke describes the mindset behind the lying writers and the readers who love them. Considering that she has previously argued that fiction can be appropriate in literary journalism, her current take on James Frey scandal further argues on the same line. But this time the genre she is discussing is neither fiction nor literary journalism. She writes:

Ours, it seems, is a cultural landscape in which emotional "honesty" is alchemized into an artistic truth, and every reader gets to decide for himself whether the inherent artifice of the story matters to him—all while writers themselves cynically (and correctly) presume that most readers have no investment in what a purist might call "artistic merit" in the first place. We want to be surprised by the revelation of these fabrications, because if we were truly surprised, it'd mean that we care about truth in the first place.

Comparing James Frey and JT LeRoy scandals, she thinks that these writers did this simply to get attention. When people didn't notice the stories they created they presented these stories as truth.

Frey's manuscript entered the market as a document whose fate rode more on its packaging than on the artistic merits of its prose, perception, or plot. He peddled Pieces to publishers as a novel, and, when that didn't work, he was content to sell it as memoir in the hopes of capitalizing on the allure of confessional revelation. He fancies himself a Writer—and has publicly dissed Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer—yet his fabrications seem dictated less by aesthetics (à la Truman Capote) than by a desire to tug ever more brutally on our heartstrings. And like any author, he knew that as soon as you go on Oprah, you're not promoting your book simply on its artistic merits, but on its claims to be an inspirational artifact.

A Million Little Pieces Still Recommended
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

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Friday, January 13, 2006

A Million little Pieces Still Recommended by Oprah

I talked a little about James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" in this post. Later I added this book in my 'Best of 2005' post. I read this book because I felt that it is quite unusual that Oprah has picked up this book and she recommended this book so powerfully that it became difficult for me to ignore this book. In a recent controversy 'The Smoking gun' alledged that James Frey's memoir is not completely non-fiction. The web site presented proofs that Frey exaggrated at many points and lied about several incidents in his book. They presented all their investigation as an exclusive report titled "A Million Little Lies, The Man Who Conned Oprah".

I was quite confused and I checked this thread on kottke many times during last few days. I wanted to write about this issue but I was not sure what to write. I wanted to become part of the Frey bashing. I loved his work and I thought that his words are powerful and would bring hope for many but I was disappointed about the lies. Then I read transcript from Larry King live where Oprah came to rescue not only Frey but many others who were confused about what to do with this book that they liked so much. Oprah said:

KING: So, it's still an Oprah recommend, right?

WINFREY: Well, I certainly do recommend it for all for -- well, for all of the people out there.

You know what? I was really touched by the woman who called, I think it was from Carmel...

KING: Yes.

WINFREY: ... who said, as an addict, what do I do now? What do I -- does this -- is this true?

If you're an addict whose life has been moved by this story and you feel that what James went through was able to -- to help you hold on a little bit longer, and you connected to that, that is real. That is real. And it's -- it's irrelevant discussing, you know, what -- what happened or did not happen to the police.

It gave me light and I realized that it is not really important whether James Frey hit the police car or not. What is important about James' book is that he turned out to be someone who he is now, after so many years of turmoil, addiction and alcoholism. So "A Million little Pieces" is going to stay in my list of best books and I will not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Letters to a Young Artist - Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith's "Letters to a Young Artist" will be released on January 24, 2006. In this book Smith talks about the creative process and an artist's life in a series of letters to a fictious teenager.

Anna Deavere Smith is an actor, playwright and a teacher. She is Author of "Fires in the Mirror" which was runner up for 1993 Pulitzer Prize, "Twilight" and "House Arrest" plays. Smith is perhaps best known as the author and performer of two one-woman plays about racial tensions in American cities — Fires in the Mirror (Obie Award-winner and runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize) and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Obie Award-winner and Tony Award nominee).

From learning Korean to play a shop owner devastated by the Rodney King riots to rehearsing (to idiosyncratic perfection) such well-known figures as Al Sharpton and oral historian Studs Terkel, Smith extends her great artistic ability to depict America’s immense diversity in culture and thought in her work.

Author Profile: Royce Carlton - Anna Deavere Smith Playwright Actor Professor

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Novel: Mary Mary (Alex Cross Series) by James Patterson

About Alex Cross

Alex Cross is novelist James Patterson's most renowned character. He is a homicide detective who lives in Washington, D.C. with his grandmother and two children, Damon and Janelle. Cross received a doctorate in psychology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, but he decided to become a police officer after becoming disillusioned with the politics of the medical community.

Patterson portrays Dr. Cross as a lonely individual, yet he is a model father and is quite empathetic in dealing with the public. Despite the fact that he is well educated and makes a decent living, he chooses to continue residing in the slums of D.C. He is very much involved in the community, most notably volunteering at St. Anthony's Parish in his D.C. neighborhood.

Author: James Patterson

James B. Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an award-winning American author. His main character in many of his novels is Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist. Morgan Freeman has played Cross in two movies adapted from Patterson's books, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. (Official James Patterson website)

Mary Mary

Alex cross is enjoying vacations with family at Disneyland when he is called in by FBI. His new assignment is to work with LAPD on a high profile murder case. An actress Antonia Schifman has been killed. An L.A. Times columnist has received a series of e-mails from a woman named Mary Smith, taking responsibility for the killing of the actress, her chauffeur, and a well-known female movie producer. Cross studies the e-mails, which make reference to Mary's ordinary appearance and her fixation on the perfect families, particularly the children, of both women. When another prominent woman is killed, Cross gets involved into the case full time, jeopardizing the outcome of the custody battle he's involved in over his youngest son. As Cross studies the e-mails and patterns of the murderer, he realizes that he can't be sure of anything, even the gender of Mary Smith. This latest thriller by Patterson lead to a truly unexpected and electrifying climax.

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