Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

From the book’s description:

Unfinished at the time of his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon is a story of doomed love set against the extravagance of America’s booming film industry. The studio lot looks like ‘thirty acres of fairyland’ the night that a mysterious woman stands and smiles at Monroe Stahr, the last of the great Hollywood princes. Enchanted by one another, they begin a passionate but hopeless love affair, starting with a fast-moving seduction as slick as a scene from one of Stahr’s pictures. The romance unfolds, frame by frame, watched by Cecilia, a thoroughly modern girl who has taken her lessons in sentiment and cynicism from all the movies she has seen. Her buoyant humor and satirical eye perfectly complement Fitzgerald’s panorama of Hollywood at its most lavish and bewitching.

If the great Francis Scott Fitzgerald would have finished writing this novel, it would have been his masterpiece. Yes, it would have been better than The Great Gatsby, which is my favorite novel of all time, and the only piece of writing I’ve been reading once a year since I was seventeen. Besides Dune. Continue reading Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

One word review: Wow!

Ever so often it happens that I get to suspend disbelief and immerse myself in such a brilliantly constructed fictional universe that it feels like a dream I’d never want to end.

Yes. I did not want to wake up from this.

I’m still book hangover. I am currently reading the sequel.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons is a brilliant SF novel. The world is complex, intriguing, and believable. It tells of certain aspects of humanity that should/could be enhanced as we develop our technology.

This is also a great novel in terms of storytelling. The writing does its job. Each character has its own way of describing events, certain motivations and dreams and hopes and aspirations. Continue reading Book Review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

A Brief History of The Book (in Seven Pictures)

The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time from author Keith Houston explores the history of the book, from the Bible up through illuminated manuscripts, early book-binding, the printing press and beyond.

From parchment and papyrus to paper, from calligraphy to typesetting, enjoy some of the most striking images from Houston’s work, showing how the physical presentation of a large grouping of words has evolved over time. Continue reading A Brief History of The Book (in Seven Pictures)

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

In 1940, John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, The Grapes of Wrath. In 1962 he was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The same year he wrote a letter to actor and fellow writer Robert Wallsten, in which he offered six tips on writing. Continue reading Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

Book Review: The Autumn of the Patriarch by G.G. Marquez

For those who enjoy Magical Realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the biggest names out there. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, he is undoubtedly one of the best stylists of this century. His prose is beautiful, his stories weave a mesmerizing and intricate web of situations and characters, and his settings are spectacular.

The Autumn of the Patriarch, the author’s favorite novel, is the story of lonely dictator, a grotesque character surrounded by enemies. He’s forced to political maneuvers and assassination to ensure his control over the state, and at one point, the population starts to view him as being immortal.

Continue reading Book Review: The Autumn of the Patriarch by G.G. Marquez

Famous Writers and Their Addictions

“Coleridge was a drug addict. Poe was an alcoholic. Marlowe was killed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab. Pope took money to keep a woman’s name out of a satire, then wrote a piece so that she could still be recognized, anyhow. Chatterton killed himself. Byron was accused of incest. Do you still want to be a writer -and if so, why?” – Bennett Cerf

Some of the world’s most famous writers have been addicts, abusing almost anything, from coffee and alcohol to sex and drugs. They often wrote about their addictions, about the way the human conditions is degraded by them.

Here’s a short list of famous writers and their vices: Continue reading Famous Writers and Their Addictions

You Are What You Read

The brain is a super-computer. A wonderful circuit board that manages to interpret what we call reality. And words are the only way this super-computer can be programmed. There’s no such thing as someone who doesn’t read. Of course, there are folks who don’t read books, who only read Facebook Status Updates and memes and news.

How would that influence your brain? Continue reading You Are What You Read