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Armando Celayo <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 8 Mar 2005 11:26:31 -0600
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Has anyone read McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales or McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories?  They are anthologies in which litarary and commercial authors come together and write short stories.  So you get writers like Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Rick Moody, Dave Eggers, and Michael Chabon with authors like Elmore Leonard, Stephen King, Michael Chrichton, and Roddy Doyle.  It's a great idea for getting readers to read literary and commercial works.  The stories aren't too bad either.

----- Original Message -----
From: Deborah Chester <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2005 9:36 am
Subject: [PWA-L] Owen Parry

> Hear!  Hear! to everything the man said in his acceptance speech.
> I'm not sure when PLOT became a dirty word in literary circles,
> but Parry is exactly right in his comments about dwindling themes.
> Over the weekend, I read a recently published novel called THE
> ESSENTIAL CHARLOTTE by Libby Schmais because -- contrary to
> popular opinion -- I do enjoy literary fiction from time to time,
> and I needed a taste of in-depth characterization and thematic
> content.  Didn't get it.  CHARLOTTE, alas, was about a
> dysfunctional family and a heroine who'd had, in her opinion, a
> less than ideal childhood.  It was trivial, banal, dull reading.
> I resisted the desire to abandon it halfway through in hopes that
> eventually we'd get to some genuine insight.  The biggest insight
> I reached was that I wouldn't be reading Ms. Schmais again.
> Sigh.
> I also read over the weekend a book called GRAVE PERIL by Jim
> Butcher, about some evil entity torturing ghosts and forcing them
> to rise and cause trouble in the world of mortals.  Yes, I know.
> Over-the-top melodrama all the way.  However, despite all of that,
> at the core of the book were themes of good versus evil, right
> versus wrong, the power of love, family, and home, and self-
> sacrifice.  The opening scene of the book involved the characters
> battling a ghost in the maternity ward of a hospital to keep the
> ghost from smothering the newborn infants.
> Again, the book was zany and extreme, but I can't argue with the
> themes.  And it seems to me that saving innocent babies from death
> is more worthwhile than contemplating navel lint in the Guggenheim
> Museum.  Still, it would be nice if more literary types could bend
> their talent to writing about the larger themes.  Then we'd have
> the best of both worlds.
> Deborah Chester
> Professor
> Professional Writing
> Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication
> University of Oklahoma
> Norman, OK  73019-2051
> Ph: (405) 325-4192
> [log in to unmask]