Short fiction. Concise, pointed, generally fast-paced. But what makes short fiction Short & Sweet as opposed to just plain Short? I’ve read quite a cross section of short fiction throughout my years of primary school, high school, personal reading and now university. And quite miserably, for every good short piece of fiction that I’ve enjoyed, I’ve had to endure approximately five terrible pieces. The art of short fiction is apparently one in its own right and those who think you can just cut a chapter out of a novel have yourself a short story are very, very wrong. Short stories require quite a bit of coy plotting for although it may not take as long to write and think up as a five hundred page fantasy novel, you have little room for whinnying your way around to the point. You have to get there. Fast. But still with enough padding that you can call it literature as opposed to an assembly of dot points.
So, that all said, what are your thoughts on short fiction and what makes it good? What do you like to read and what do you think a writer has to do to serve this genre well?
For those of you who’ve ridden the Dan Brown wave from Digital Fortress in 1998 (can you believe it was fifteen years ago?) to The Lost Symbol in 2009, it might be of interest (or hysterical joy) to know that today is the day of his most recent book release. I announce this as if you don’t already know, courtesy of the thousands of Facebook ads (specifically tailored to YOU – and you all no doubt Google books on a regular basis) or else through your equally nerdy friendship circles or perhaps, you stumbled across the ginormous posters plastering the windows of bookstores as of late. Nevertheless, I expect you to all react to this post as if it is the first to deliver the ground-breaking news. Thank you.
So, Ladies and Gentleners, without further ado, here is the long-awaited fourth installment of Robert Langdon’s adventures:
I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet because a) if I do, it is one hundred percent assured that my philosophy paper, due Monday, will not be written, b) I was in a such a ridiculous rush today that even though I actually SAW touchable copies of the book in my university’s bookstore, I was compelled by my disorganization to ignore it for the sake of handing in a form before five o’clock and c) I promised myself that I’d finish all two hundred-and-something unread books on my shelf before I bought any new ones.
So, I pose to you, faithful readers:
Have you bought it yet? Have you read it front to back already because you’re just that much of a fan? What did you think? Worth the hype? Worth the buy?
P.S. This is a spoiler free zone and I will enforce this with the frightening wrath of a scorned reader if I have to.
Facebook doesn’t care if you’re responsible with your apostrophes so long as you post as many inane and pointless status updates as possible. The only punctuation mark that Twitter cares about is its godforsaken hash tag. The YouTube rappersphere doesn’t even adhere to basic spelling; it’s all about dis, dat and da next thang. And finally, and possibly the most devastatingly, the age-old art of letter writing (now known as texting), has been transformed into a terrifying amalgamation of shorthand (e.g. “where r u?”) and auto-correct, rendering the smart phone-wielding population just plain bloody useless.
There is however, a basic necessity for good grammar and I need only give you one example:
Do you know what I only just realised? It’s the 1st of February already and I haven’t even made a list of books to read in 2013! Well, I’ve started one now after just about punching myself in the face for my own stupidity. I deserve it. But, let’s move on, shall we?
Tell me! What paperback novels, hardback plays, collections of essays, intriguing biographies, dirty memoirs or non-fiction investigations haunt your to-read list for this year? My list is so far short because I’m determined to ensure that every single title that earns a spot on it is worthy of my very time-poor attention.
On my Books to Read in 2013, I’ve featured titles that have caressed my current obsession with adventure journalism, the third world, media-fueled changed and incredible feats of writing. While since the wee age of eleven I’ve pranced around with the notion in my airy-fairy head that I’m the next Meryl Streep, about a dozen epiphanies as of late have culminated in a redirection of my passions and talents…the writing world. But neither novels nor plays for let’s just be frank here: plotting is not my forte. But rather of the creative non-fiction sort, investigating those cobwebbed corners of the globe, splattering the world with my uncoordinated footsteps and writing about the people, the places, the ideas and the change that I see and possibly even one day orchestrate. This is why the four books on my list all feature either journalism or travel.
I am still eager to hear your own reading resolutions, however, whether they be academic, for the purpose of guilty pleasure or just because no one can not love Harry Potter. What are you reading? Oh, and if you have any recommendations for me, fire away, friends!
Australia is known for its sun, its surf, its beaches, its hot, sticky weather and its laid-back ‘have a beer’ attitude. When you visualize the iconic Queensland coast, you don’t usually conjure images of cyclonic monsoon weather, flooded roads or fallen power lines. Nor do you usually imagine a bleak, grey view from your window or a wet and chilly breeze in the middle of what is supposed to be summer. But, if for some unfathomable reason, this is the picture that flashed before your mind’s eye upon hearing the word ‘Australia’ then right now you would actually be correct…
The rains have arrived. And apparently, with a vengeance. Much of the state of Queensland (known ironically as ‘the sunshine state’) is currently watching Mother Nature throw an almighty tantrum. Homes and businesses are being pummeled with rain, wind and flying debris; roads have been flooded and apparently…this is only the beginning of what is predicted to be a long weekend of natural disasters. In short, Australia is a very wet and soggy country right now.
I send my love and hope to all of those who’ve already lost their homes and businesses or are trapped in severe flood waters. To those of you who are simply trapped indoors by the rain and the weather warnings, I have one fundamental piece of advice: don’t be an imbecile; stay inside. “It’s boring!” you say? “What can I do?” you ask? Well, thankfully for you, I’ve prepared a little indoor inspiration to keep you safe, dry and thoroughly entertained as the rains sweep the nation!
BEVERAGES & BOOKS
Grab a cup or mug of anything steaming and sweet.
Grab a book.
Get cozy, get comfy, get on that couch!
And, voila! In all seriousness, what more do you need?
Loyal readers! I stumbled across a very neat concept today on the site Tumblr and thought I’d share it with you!
“My local library branch started doing this “Blind Date with a Book” thing, thought you guys might like it. The shelf was full when we got there, but was like this as we were leaving. The books are wrapped in paper and have different designs on them, and then a few words vaguely describing the subject matter of the book. Things like “Drama”, “Plot Twists”, “espionage”, etc. The only thing exposed on the book is the barcode that you use to scan the book out. I thought it was a pretty cool idea.”
As most book loving, novel reading, quote devouring nerds know, those with an affinity for one medium of the arts (in this case, literature), are usually rather partial to many of the other mediums as well. It is for this very reason that I extend my cross-disciplinary arm over to the photographic world to present to you with a very dramatic ‘voila’ gesture, my little brother’s amateur photography website. He’s actually very good and I implore you to casually browse his initial collection of shots. AND…if you’re feeling even the tiniest bit angelic or saintly, you might even be compelled to leave him a comment or two! If so, you’ll sleep well tonight knowing your halo is sparkling!
I love this compilation (I can’t take the credit for it however – not sure who can); it’s a melange of the delicate and the buxom, the juicy and the subtle, the profound and the itchy. Each word has its own weight, some so light they simply stroke you with their intended meaning; others so heavy that they dent your perspective and shatter your former assumptions. If nothing else, if not good grammar or correct spelling, writers should endeavour to include more words of this calibre in their stories, essays, poetry and musings. These words showcase the very core of language.