Author of the Week, George Saunders, June 14

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   June 14

George Saunders

( Novellas, Short Stories, Essays, and Children’s Books)

“Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the centre of the universe. Suddenly (we’re saved!) other people are real again, and we’re fond of them.”

“When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. What I want is to have the reader come out just 6 percent more awake to the world.”

“By honing the sentences you used to describe the world, you changed the inflection of your mind, which changed your perceptions.”

“Sometimes I think fiction exists to model the way God might think of us, if God had the time and inclination to do so.”

 

George Saunders (Born 1958)  is a New York Times best-selling American writer of short stories and eleven novels. He won the Man Booker prize in 2017 for Lincoln in the Bardo. His stories have appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 1992. The short story collection Tenth of December was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has taught, since 1997, in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.

Interview (Late Night with Seth Myers) with George Saunders, How Stories Enter Our Minds as Memories:

 

 

 

George Saunders is a conjurer, summoning worlds by stacking sentences and paragraphs, using agile and often brutally efficient language.  An interview with Saunders at The Believer Magazine:

An Interview with George Saunders

Reviews on Amazon:

“You want funny? Saunders is your man. You want emotional heft? Saunders again. You want stories that are actually about something—stories that again and again get to the meat of matters of life and death and justice and country? Saunders. There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.”—Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King

“The best short-story writer in English—not ‘one of,’ not ‘arguably,’ but the Best.”—Mary Karr, Time.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction.”The Wall Street Journal

Saunder’s Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/George-Saunders/e/B000APEZ74

 

Note: You can read one of Saunder’s short stories Sticks right here at Reading Fiction Blog, featured in November 2018 (flash fiction 4-minute read):

George Saunder’s Flash Fiction “Sticks”

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

 Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors. Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

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Author of the Week, Catherine Cavendish, June 7

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  June 7

Catherine Cavendish

(Fiction: Ghost Stories, Supernatural, Gothic)

“I don’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I loved reading so much and started at a precociously early age. I kept running out of things to read, so I wrote my own.”

“Ever since I was a child and read The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, I have loved that delicious thrill you can only get from reading scary stories. I do believe there is more to this world than what we can see, hear, touch and feel. Scientists have already proved the existence of many more senses and dimensions than we thought we had a few decades ago.”

[Note: The ghost story has persisted in literature for a long time. Maybe they are reflections of who we really are? Maybe we just love the illusions and the power of the supernatural? Whatever, if you love ghost stories, you must try Catherine Cavendish novels.]

Catherine Cavendish is  author  of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels and novellas.  She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which was featured in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys rambling around stately homes, circles of standing stones and travelling to favourite haunts such as Vienna and Orkney. She lives with her long-suffering husband and black cat in a 260 year old haunted apartment in North Wales.

 

Interview with Catherine Cavendish with Brian Kirk:

Interview with Catherine Cavendish, Author of Dark Avenging Angel

 

Catherine speaks about Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

 

 

 

Amazon Reviews:

“Catherine Cavendish delivers a clever, accomplished book that entirely normalises the ghost narrative and the timeslip aspects of the story, making it perfectly easy to suspend disbelief and imagine myself on one of Hannah’s tours, seeing and experiencing things that jump straight into the realm of the supernatural.” (Crime Review )

“Superb writing […] Cavendish’s writing is spot on, building wonderful characters and weaving a spell on us unsuspecting readers.” (Final Guys )

“Cavendish sets the scene exceptionally well and the book is atmospheric and spooky throughout.” (The British Fantasy Society )

 

Catherine Cavendish Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Cavendish/e/B0059GDROQ

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by

contemporary and classic authors.

 

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Those Long Blue Days

On the Gulls’ Road   by Willa Cather

May’s Tale of Romance   May 29, 2021

 

 

This blog doesn’t do many love stories, but this one by Willa Cather is a romance that is worthy. The story moves with an evocative sense of place, the suspense of illicit desire, and an ending that will rush your emotions.

Our narrator, an artist, is telling a fellow painter about a portrait that  he painted of a young women named Alexandra Ebbling.

A story within a story, the artist and the woman had met on a ship crossing from Italy to New York. A romantic setting right there! The artist and Alexandra fall in love—“like old friends.”

All those long blue days when I sat beside her talking about Finmark and the sea, she must have known that I loved her.

The artist proposes that they run off together. Alexandra is married and gravely ill. She says “When I leave you day after tomorrow, I shall have given you all my life. I can’t tell you how, but it is true …  It is a wild thing that sings in us once and flies away and never comes back, and mine has flown to you.”

When they dock in New York, she gives him a box to be opened at a later date.

This is beautiful love story full of atmospheric prose, rich images, and a swirling romance.

Read it here at Cather.Unl.edu:

https://cather.unl.edu/writings/shortfiction/ss007

 

Listen to the audio here, a lovely read aloud:

 

 

Willa Cather (1873—1947) is remembered for her depictions of pioneer life in Nebraska. She established a reputation for giving breath to the landscape of her fiction.  Inscribed on her tombstone is a quotation from My Ántonia that reflects her artistic spirit: “That is happiness, to be dissolved into something complete and great.”

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES in above tab for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

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Author of the Week, Michael Chabon, May 24

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 24

Michael Chabon

(Literary Fiction, Short Stories, Essays)

 

 

 

“Man makes plans … and God laughs.”

“When I finish a first draft, it’s always just as much of a mess as it’s always been. I still make the same mistakes every time.”

“You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.”

Michael Chabon (born 1963), American author, became a literary celebrity with his first novel, The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh at the age of twenty-five.  He wrote the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning  Moonglow, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and Wonder Boys (1995; film 2000). And two collections of short stories, and one other work of non-fiction.

“Mr. Chabon is that rare thing, an intelligent lyrical writer.”The New York Times Book Review.

Wonder Boys caught me up and carried me along like some kind of flying carpet. . . . Michael Chabon keeps us wide awake and reading.”—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR

Visit his Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Chabon/e/B00456TWZY

 

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, May Sarton, May 17

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 17

May Sarton

(Novelist, Memoirist, Poet)

“I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.”

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.”

“I suppose I have written novels to find out what I thought about something and poems to find out what I felt about something.”

“I feel happy to be keeping a journal again. I’ve missed it, missed naming things as they appear, missed the half hour when I push all duties aside and savour the experience of being alive in this beautiful place.”

 

May Sarton (1912—1995)  is the pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton.  Her first volume of poetry, Encounters in April, was published in 1937 and her first novel, The Single Hound, in 1938.

Her memoir, best-selling Journal of a Solitude, 1973, was an account of her experiences as a female artist, and is still read today, praised as “rich in the love of nature and the love of solitude … a beautiful book, wise and warm within its solitude,” by Eugenia Thornton. Sarton became acquainted with many literary figures, including Virginia Woolf and Elizabeth Bowen. She taught at both Harvard and Wellesley; her books are a part of  college courses throughout the country. 

May Sarton died of breast cancer  in 1995, at the age of 83. She said of her work: “It is my hope that all the novels, the poems, and the autobiographical books may come to be seen as a whole, the communication of a vision of life.” She has an extensive and impressive legacy’ with over 50 published works.

[Note: I have a long-lasting love of May Sarton’s journals and fiction. I probably own 30+ of her 50 works, and often reread her journals, especially House by the Sea, my favorite. She falls deeply in love with nature, flowers, gardens, land, sea and sky, and her writing. She writes her best in this book, just luminous! A book to keep by your bed and savor before turning out the light, taking May’s wise thinking into your subconscious. If you read only one book by May, House by the Sea will capture your heart, imagination, and soul. Sarton is an inspiration.]

 

Interview (30-minute film) with May Sarton hosted by Karen Saum. Sarton speaks about poetry and her writing. This vimeo is followed by another of Sarton’s events “May Sarton: Writing in the Upward Years” (1988).


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/15202922″>May Sarton She knew a Phoenix</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3645923″>Belfast Community Media</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

Sarton’s Novels:

 

May Sarton’s Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.com/May-Sarton/e/B000AQ48TS/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, David Baldacci, May 10

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 10

David Baldacci

(Fiction: Thrillers, Mysteries, Crime, Adventure)

“If I worried too much about publishers’ expectations, I’d probably paralyze myself and not be able to write anything.”

“What I do in my thrillers is to try and tell a story with characters you care about. A thriller can’t be just plot or just characters, it has to be a combination of both. I could concoct a really great plot but if I put in characters readers don’t really care about, they are not going to finish the book.”

“Why waste time trying to discover the truth, when you can so easily create it?”

Writing Tip: “Don’t know the ending before you start.”

 

David Baldacci (born August 1960) published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 41 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His works of fiction include  The Camel Club, and The Innocent. Baldacci has also published six novels for younger readers.

 

David Baldacci Speaking at Book Event (20 minutes):

Baldacci’s Amazon’s page:

https://www.amazon.com/David-Baldacci/e/B000AQ0STC

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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National Bird Day, May 4, 2021

May 4, 2021  National Bird Day

Birds symbolize the “links between Heaven and Earth … spiritual states … friendship …. fate … immortality of the soul … likened to falcons.”

Penguin Dictionary of Symbols.

 

 

When I wrote my novel Greylock, I researched black merlins (small falcons) because I had a menacing one flying into my storyline of this supernatural mystery about the ghostly power of music. Again, for my short story Wild Darkness, I discovered the wisdom of blackbirds through my main character Agatha as she approached death. So for today, National Bird Day, let’s take a moment to honor these wind hoverers.

 

 

If you are partial to falcons, this video is a lovely tribute.

Video is 2 minutes:  https://www.spirit-animals.com/falcon-symbolism/

I once saw a bird look like a star bursting off a sunbeam and ever since that moment birds draw my eye practically every day. Their songs ring out like little bells, their colorful feathers often bluer than the sky.

This week I discovered a bird’s nest inside a Christmas wreath still hanging on my front door. Three little ones with the most charming tweets. Truly a springtime moment. Below is a beauty that I found on my deck last summer and is now buried in my garden.

What experiences have you had with birds in your path? Drop a quick comment about how birds fly into your life, your writing, your mind, body, soul. Or  spot us a favorite quotation about birds.

What are you doing today to connect to these sky spirits living in our world?

Happy Bird Day to All!

 

 

John James Audubon (1785–1851)

with Joseph Mason (1808–1842), Eastern Towhee

National Bird Day was established by Charles Babcock in 1894. It was the first holiday in the United States dedicated to the celebration of birds. Babcock intended it to advance bird conservation as a moral value. It is celebrated on May 4 of every year.  January 5 is also a National Bird Day.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Birds-My-Table-Feed-Matters/dp/1501710788

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Author of the Week, Martha Grimes, May 3

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    May 3

Martha Grimes

(Novels and Detective Mysteries: Richard Jury Series, Emma Graham Series)

 

“I enjoy these characters a lot. I really like thinking about them, watching them, seeing what they’re going to do. I write about these people, and I get really connected to them and I just cannot let them go.”

“The plot is not there in advance. It’s just not there.”

“You’re not really a writer unless you’re actually writing. So that’s why I continue to do it: because I want to continue to think of myself as a writer.”

 

Martha Grimes (born May 2, 1931) is an American writer of detective fiction, author of more than thirty books. She is the bestselling author of twenty-one Richard Jury novels (Scotland Yard inspector), as well as the novels Dakota and Foul Matter. Her character-driven mysteries fall into the subgenre of  cozy mysteries.  She is also the author of Double Double, a dual memoir of alcoholism written with her son. The winner of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award, Grimes lives in Bethesda, Maryland.  Newsweek named her “one of the established masters of the genre.”

Interview with Martha Grimes at AuthorMagazine.org

 

 

 

Visit Grimes’ Amazon.com page:

https://www.amazon.com/Martha-Grimes/e/B000APFU50

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Bloody Fingerprints

Slippery Fingers by Dashiell Hammett (1923)

Tuesday’s Detective Tale       Tuesday, April 27, 2021

 

How about reading an old-fashioned murder mystery? Why do we love murder mysteries with snappy detectives or even bumbling detectives? Maybe killers are fascinating. Maybe cheeky detectives beating after the killers are fascinating. Or maybe we love living vicariously inside the killer or detective’s head for an hour or two. I’m betting on the third reason for most of us. Come on, there must be somebody in your life you’ve had moments where you wanted to kill that person and get away with it. Everybody has a  killer inside them according to noir detectives. Noir fiction is filled with greed,  lust, or juicy jealousy; femmes fatales in seedy bars, guys drinking cheap gin, and everything is shrouded in cigarette smoke.  Nobody does this better than author Dashiell Hammett (except maybe Raymond Chandler, my favorite); the prose is sparse and the storytelling exact.

In Slippery Fingers, we have a dead body, Frederick Grover, stabbed in the throat with a brass paperknife, in the library, and found by the butler Barton. Murder during a burglary, you say? No dice. Blackmail maybe? A lovers quarrel? Naa. How about the butler did it? That cliche will kill the reader. Maybe we should follow the money-spending of Mr. Grover … and fingerprints.

 

 

 

Dashiell Hammett (1894 – 1961) the master of detective fiction, an American writer who created the hard-boiled school of detective fiction. Pulp magazines, films, television, Hammett’s most famous titles are The Glass Key, The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon. His most memorable characters were the Continental Op, Nick and Nora Charles, and Sam Spade.

Read the short story here:

https://loa-shared.s3.amazonaws.com/static/pdf/Hammett_Slippery_Fingers.pdf

Listen to the audio here (25 minutes). This is a very entertaining audio!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vec6iW6bak 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

   Fangoria.com      Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

      Monster Librarian        The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, James Herbert, April 19

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   April 19

James Herbert

(Novels and Short Stories, Supernatural, Ghost Stories, Horror)

 

 

“I’m never going to win the Booker and I have no great literary pretensions, but I know how to write well. I do it the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper and I know my spelling and grammar.”

“I have a dread of sounding pretentious and try not to talk too much about what I do. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to point it out: I’m not just in it for the gore.”

“To be haunted is to glimpse a truth that might best be hidden.”

“I’ve actually seen a ghost, so I know what they are really about.”

 

James Herbert (1943 – 2013) was an English author of the supernatural and popular for his horror fiction. He sold 54 million books that were translated into 34 languages. His best known novels are The Fog, The Survivor, and The Dark. Also the Ghosts of Sleath, The Secret of Crickley Hall , The Dark. Some of his novels were adapted for film, television, and radio. Herbert’s final novel Ash imagines Princess Diana and her secret son as well as Lord Lucan, Colonel Gaddafi and Robert Maxwell living together in a Scottish castle. Stephen King said of Herbert’s stories, “His work has a raw urgency.”

 

Interview by Terry Wogan with James Herbert. True horror fans will love this!

 

BBC interviews James Herbert on his experiences with ghosts.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/19463081

 

James Herbert Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/James-Herbert/e/B000AP90NS

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog! And browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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