I’ll have more to say about this later. Literary crimes are being perpetrated today that hadn’t been invented yet in 2014.
How Not to Write Dialogue
I think back to those days when literary agents and editors used to keelhaul new writers for even the slightest lapses in style and grammar–while at the same time, publishing stuff that was barely recognizeable as English.
If you can’t talk intelligently, you can’t think intelligently.
The prosecution rests, your honor.
Is this true? “Stupid people are born, not made.” I think an awful lot of trouble goes into making them.
I don’t scout the Young Readers shelves in the supermarket anymore. There’s only so much that flesh and blood can stand. That anyone is still reading anything by the time they finish college is a mystery to me.
Serving Up Slop to Teen Readers
Come to think of it, I used to read and review these books, too. I wonder if I ought to start doing it again. What do you think?
Here are a few I still have
How about a little break from the nooze, for something more wholesome?
When I was a wee child, one of the first authors whose name I could cite was Herbert S. Zim, author of almost 100 books on nature and other scientific subjects (https://www.paperbackswap.com/Herbert-S-Zim/author/)–you name it, he wrote about it. Golden Guides, assorted field guides for older children and adults, on everything from insects to dinosaurs, and even a book or two on cars: he must have been a terribly busy man.
He wasn’t the only one. Bertha Morris Parker could give him a run for his money. She wrote the whole Golden Encyclopedia for children and wound up with more than 80 titles in print.
16 volumes! I wish I still had them.
My parents saw to it that my brother and sister and I had plenty (!) of books to read–our house was full of them. We picked up a habit of reading that’s still with me today. And it wasn’t all science: novels, histories, collections of Bible stories (some of those illustrations by Gustave Dore kind of freaked me out), and stacks of comics. My father had a Life of Kit Carson that’s probably worth its weight in gold today. I read it several times. He also had Knute Rockne; I read that, too.
Are kids still reading books like these? I wish I could say yes, but I don’t know. I suspect not. It’s a kind of poverty. And that makes me sad.
Book No. 7–that’s Queen Gurun in the bows.
Let me tell you what it’s like, writing a novel.
Writing a Novel is Like…
Probably almost everybody can learn how to put a novel together. And almost everybody thinKs he or she can write a novel. “If only I had the time!”
Lately a question has arisen in my mind: how many publishing execs, editors, marketing consultants, or reviewers could write a decent novel if their lives depended on it?
There’s stuff in here that’ll blow you away!
It’s troubling to see how little reading gets done, these days. Our civilization, which would not have even been possible without literacy, is looking rather sickly.
In addition to flat-out needing what books can tell us, books are an inexhaustible store of pleasure for the reader. Like this, for instance:
Old Books, New Delights
A haunted stamp collection! Betcha never thought of that before.
Books can help keep us from turning into Eloi. And when you consider how our teachers’ unions discourage independent reading, you’ll know who the Morlocks are, too.
Has anyone read this yet, besides me? (Of course I read my own books! How else am I going to remember things from book to book?) And I have zero customer reviews on amazon.com.
Edgar Rice Burroughs cranked out two dozen Tarzan novels, in addition to his numerous other works. Like, how many times could Tarzan discover a lost city? Africa was crawling with ’em! Readers kept reading them, even after Burroughs himself got tired of writing them.
Granted, our marketing isn’t much (you’re looking at a big piece of it just now), and the release of a new Bell Mountain book doesn’t exactly produce a ripple in the news. I did feel I ought to mention it here. But I am not a publicist.
The UK’s Technology and Science Secretary has called for prison sentences for “social media bosses” who refuse to censor “harmful” content (https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2023/04/20/uk-minister-jail-social-media-bosses-who-fail-to-censor-harmful-content/).
So much for the Magna Carta, eh?
It’s part of an “Online Safety Bill” intended to punish “all forms of expression–” yes, they do say all–“which spread, incite, promote, or justify hatred…” Especially of any particular group (“transgendered,” for instance) that the government wishes to promote.
And they’re gonna be really hard on “disinformation,” which, they say, can cause “serious harm to children.” The government will decide on what constitutes “disinformation.” It’ll probably be anything they dislike.
So what is “harmful” content? Anything the government says is harmful content. And what is “hatred”? Anything the government says is hatred!
That’ll keep the censors busy, won’t it? Deciding who goes to jail, and who doesn’t, on the basis of whatever might appear on their social media platforms.
Honk if you want to live this way.
Thank God the American colonies won their war for independence. Let’s pray we can keep it.
I got my box of author’s copies yesterday, so I guess it’s official–Bell Mountain No. 14, Behold!, is now on sale.
Can our heroes use an ancient weapon to defend themselves, or will it wipe them out along with the enemy? Is there power left over from that vanished world?
Behold! is on sale at the Chalcedon Store (www.chalcedon.edu) and will soon be on sale at amazon.com and elsewhere. A paper shortage held up publication somewhat, but now it’s in print… and the rest is up to you, the readers.
I hope you’ll read this and let me know what you think of it. Let’s switch the lights on in the stadium, shall we?
What–only four votes cast? Well, maybe yesterday was the wrong day for it. Risking reader displeasure, I’ll try again.
Your Favorite ‘Bell Mountain’ Character
Let’s have some fun with this–why not? It’s got to be almost as dreary to read the nooze as it is to write it.
I’m supposed to write a Newswithviews column today, and I haven’t got the ghost of an idea. Maybe some chance remark here will set me off.
I’m still waiting for my new book, Behold!, to be published–we’ve got a paper shortage! Another piece of our national economy that’s not working lately. But there’s another thing that concerns me.
Who’s going to read it?
Is anybody reading anymore? Even blog traffic is down all over, it’s not just me. They’ve gone from not reading books to not reading blog posts. At this rate there’ll be nothing left but HOW RU? And maybe little pictographs to tide us over until writing is re-invented.
The poor Time-Traveller! He wants to know all about the limp, passive Eloi, and they can’t tell him. Finally he asks if they have books. “Oh, yes, we have books.” Huzzah! “Books will tell me what I want to know!” What does he learn from the books that the Eloi have let crumble into dust?
What would our Constitutional Convention have produced, if its delegates–our country’s founders–were all non-readers? No history, no classics, no philosophy… Maybe not even the Bible, although I like to think that would have been the last to go.
Well, we won’t need censorship if the people just stop reading.