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The Eclectic Corner
The following commentary was taken from a 2012 post on my blog, The Contrary Canadian.
All week, I participated in a discussion about Stephen King. And I cannot believe the number of people who were bashing the guy. He has written 50 books–EVERY ONE OF THEM A BESTSELLER. Best guestimates are he brings in at least 40 million a year. And when he can write a book like 11/22/63 that can move me to melancholy for the better part of a day AND a week later still has me thinking about it, then I say the whole lot are out to lunch, jealous, little people of no concern. This man is a great story teller. He HAS to be, to accomplish what he has done.
Read my review, then get the book, and open your eyes…
Copyright © 2012 Clayton Clifford Bye
THOUGHTS ON THE ABOVE
1. Sandra McLeod Humphrey said:
Sounds like another great book–what an intriguing story line! You’re right, Stephen King is an extraordinary storyteller!
REPLY claytonbye said:
The idea of preventing Kennedy’s asassination was what originally caught my attention, but when the story turns out to be a treatise on time travel–WOW! I think it’s safe to say there are a few time travel stories better than this one (King mentions a favourite of mine “Time after Time,” a story centred on the idea of Jack the Ripper as a time traveller.), but only a few. I think this may be a book even those who aren’t King fans will enjoy.
2. Sandra Nachlinger said
I agree with you, Clayton. Stephen King knows how to tell a story, and those who bash his work must be envious of his talent. Great post and review.
FYI: I found your blog through LinkedIn’s “New Authors Need Marketing Ideas/Got a blog….” group.
Reply claytonbye said:
Thank you Sandra. It has been noted by smarter people than I that the higher up the ladder you go, the more people there seem to be who want to pull you back down. I’m sure King knows this, but it has been quite apparent in his interviews that these comments bother him a great deal. I think the worst one was the repeated habit so called “literary” pundits had of calling him a hack. That one went on until just a few years ago.
3. Wayne Helliar said:
Lot’s of people hate Wayne Greztky too, probably some of them hate Steven King as well. But they just can’t understand, success speaks for itself.
REPLY claytonbye said:
You’ve got that right, cousin. It’s amazing how many people are jealous of or even harbour malice for those who are more successful than they are. We would all be better off if we could just be happy for what we have and for what we may be able to achieve–leaving other people completely out of the picture. I guess another way to put what I’m trying to say is if Stephen King makes 40 million per year, as reported, I should be happy for the man. There’s no percentage in hating the guy.
Whisper in the Dark
Robert Gregory Browne
St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 2009
Whisper in the Dark was an interesting novel. Mixed with a little of the supernatural and a whole lot of plot twists, I found myself entertained right to the very end.
Frank Blackburn is an abrasive, sexist detective who doesn’t miss much. But the Vincent Van Gogh murders have him stumped. Then a beautiful, naked, incoherent and terribly violent woman turns up near the scene of a brutal murder. Is she the murderer or is she a victim of Vincent? Her missing left ear would suggest she is.
As if this isn’t enough for one night, it turns out that the woman knows the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Michael Tolan, saying things only his dead wife could possibly know. And what’s going on with all the conflicting statements as to the woman’s physical attributes? Even Frank appears to have seen track marks on her arms that simply don’t exist.
While Frank is trying to make some sense of these things, both Tolan and his partner Sue Carmody go missing. The case is unraveling before Frank’s eyes and he doesn’t like what it suggests. How is he to know he couldn’t be more wrong, that the Vincent Van Gogh case is about to take a hard left, leaving Frank wounded and unable to prevent the terrible reckoning that’s about to go down?
This is edge of your seat reading from an author who will hit you in ways you’ll never suspect.
Copyright ©2014 Clayton Clifford Bye
Johnny Cash: The Life
Little, Brown and Company, 2013
Hardcover, 680 pages
From touring with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and June carter to his final days and perhaps the best song he ever recorded, Johnny Cash lived his life and managed his singing career on his own terms. This is the one thing Robert Hilburn makes abundantly clear in his exhaustive commentary regarding the career of Johnny Cash, a career that spanned 5 decades (1954-2003). It didn't matter if the record was bad because Cash was wired on drugs or if it was a gospel record when his fans wanted more country or if he was recording punk rock in an effort to connect with the youth of today, Cash always had an album concept he was working on—the record label be damned. He was the original outlaw for both country and rock and roll, and unknown by most people, he never really gave up those titles. Cash was simply overshadowed during the latter part of the 70's and most of the 80's. But he never stopped touring and he never stopped making records.
"From his early days as a pioneer of rockabilly and rock and roll in the 1950s, to his decades as an international representative of country music, to his resurgence to fame in the 1990s as a living legend and an alternative country icon, Cash influenced countless artists and left a large body of work. Upon his death, Cash was revered by the greatest popular musicians of his time. His rebellious image and often anti-authoritarian stance [even] influenced punk rock." - Wikipedia -
Sources disagree, but to the best of my knowledge Johnny cash recorded: 55 studio albums, 104 compilations, 6 live albums, 2 soundtracks and 153 singles. With the constant touring this man did, the number of songs he wrote and the number of songs he recorded is mind-blowing.
I can't say this with more passion. If you have ever wanted to know about the life of a rock or country music star, why not study the greatest of them all: Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn.
Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye
|I wanted to like this book, but in the end it was just okay. Several times during the story the author developed conflict between characters but failed to use that conflict in full. Yes, there was a lot of zombie contact, but what the reader is after is the human story, and it is here that Matthew Kinney fails us. He sets up two main conflicts between his protagonist and his "villains," both just caricatures who never create real tension for the reader. In fact, the first conflict--begun then abandoned--is almost comical in nature. And as the book is neither comedy or horror novel it is bound to disappoint both audiences.|
Clayton Clifford Bye
Year Page Views
by Tim Winton
Penguin Books, 2012
Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Leached of all confidence, she spends her days in isolated tedium and her nights in a blur of vodka and self-recrimination. One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she sees a shadow drifting up on the beach below—a loner called Luther Fox, with danger in his wake.
Full of unforgettable characters, Dirt Music is Tim Winton's classic love song to land and place.
The story of Georgie and Luther (Lu) is set against a wildly beautiful but deadly Australia, one that sings to those who live there while also cutting deep. A terrible and unforgiving place, much like Georgie's lover, Jim, the land is just as much a character in this awesomely alive novel of epic loss, unforgivable transgressions and ultimate redemption. The prose has raw power that compels the reader forward through stunning landscapes and unforgettable places to seemingly inevitable personal disaster for Georgie, Jim and Lu. I couldn't rip my eyes from the pages.
Copyright © 2013 Clayton Clifford Bye
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