Relief Journal, a new quarterly whose first issue will appear in print this November, asks about the most important job of a Christian author. Is it to reveal Christ to non-Christians? Is it to paint a picture of the world as it should be? Is it to write with skill and authenticity, to reflect reality from a Christian worldview, or to encourage and edify Christians? Take the poll.
Crimeficreader has posted notes from the festival interview with that wonderful author, P.D. James. One interesting note, Crimeficreader says: “James believes that imagination is a gift, that it is something you’re born with. When she was a child she knew she wanted to be a writer, but described herself as a ‘late starter’ – a comment that I’m sure will give hope to many.” Perhaps that’s so, but I know that imagination needs regular nurturing to grow and bloom.
At a charity reading in New York, Authors John Irving and Stephen King urge J.K. Rowling to avoid doffing Potter.
King said, “I don’t want him to go over the Reichenbach Falls.”
Rowling said she has worked out the ending to her series, and no doubt someone will not like it.
Sherry points out Emily Bronte’s birthday today. She writes: “Some critics insisted that Emily’s novel, Wuthering Heights, must have been written by a man because no woman could have written such a passionate story. Emily Bronte died of tuberculosis one year after the publication of her only novel. She was 30 years old.”
Why do critics argue stupid points like this? I guess it was a different era, when women were not considered valuable members of society or at least literary culture. Our era has its own stupid ideas, such as a constitutional right to privacy and global warming.
Mickey Spillane, 88, recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the Mystery Writers of America and the Private Eye Writers of America, died today in his hometown, Murrells Inlet, SC. His first novel, “I, the Jury,” starring Mike Hammer, was published in 1946.
The AP reports: “Spillane, a bearish man who wrote on an old manual Smith Corona, always claimed he didn’t care about reviews. He considered himself a ‘writer’ as opposed to an ‘author,’ defining a writer as someone whose books sell.”
Can you name the top three bestselling authors worldwide? Let me help. The third one is Paulo Coelho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His most recent hardback, The Zahir, is about a bestselling novelist who loses his wife, a war correspondent, in what may be adulterous betrayal. Another novel (republished by HarperCollins) is The Devil and Miss Prym, which deals with man’s struggle with good and evil.
Unlike the other two current bestselling authors on our list, Coelho has never sold the film rights to his books. On his website, he says, “I have never allowed [his books to be made into movies]. I recently made a US$2 million offer to recover the only rights I ever sold, The Alchemist (to Warner Bros.). They are studying the matter. I don’t intend to sell any film rights, because I think the film should be in the mind of the reader. My books use the creativity of those reading them.”
Are you familiar with Coelho? Do you know who the other two authors are?
Critical Mass asks: “It seems like people constantly mistake your fictional voice from your real life identity. Has this chased you since The New York Trilogy?” Auster says, “I was fascinated with the idea that you have a book, and you have the name on the cover: it’s the author’s name. Now, who is it talking to you? Is it the person or is it an authorial voice?” Read on
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
— American Author E.B. White (Elwyn Brooks) who was born on this day in 1899. I think I understand his idea quoted above.
Keith Burgess-Jackson writes that Noam Chomsky has strong opinions on foreign policy and morality, but so what?
Chomsky’s expertise as a linguist (or as an amateur but competent philosopher of language) has no bearing on anything moral or political, including matters of foreign policy. These two aspects of his life are, quite simply, unrelated. That he has strong opinions about American foreign policy in general or the war in Iraq in particular is no more significant than that others, such as classicist Victor Davis Hanson, have equally strong but opposite opinions. So why does anyone care what Chomsky thinks? I suspect it’s because people commit a fallacy. Expertise (or the authority that rests on it) is not transferable from realm to realm. It’s realm-specific.
I suppose Chomsky’s opinion has the same weight as that of a celebrity. I wonder of Kevin Bacon thinks about it.
The news out of Concord, Mass. is that about 40 descendants of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne gathered in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to view the reburial of Sophia and her daughter Una, who were previously entered in a London cemetery where they lived after Nathaniel’s death in 1864.
Now the bodies are near each other in Concord, but the article quotes a literature professor, talking about their passionate marriage, as saying, “It’s a misfortune that they were separated in death. It’s very satisfying to anyone who knows the story of the Hawthorne marriage that they’re being reunited for eternity.”
It probably isn’t polite to disagree with this small point of theology, but that’s why we blog, isn’t it? I’m glad the family is encouraged by this burial decision, but I hope they know that Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne have been eternally together for over a hundred years now, rejoicing along with Longfellow and Melville in the love of God the Father who has welcomed them for eternity through the redemption of Jesus Christ.
Sherry of Semicolon has a new URL for her blog and a review of Joseph C. Phillips’ new book about being a conservative black Christian living in Hollywood. She writes:
He is not a stereotypical black American, Joseph Phillips has faced misunderstanding and accusations of not being ‘black enough.” He has struggled to understand how much of his identity as a person depends on the color of his skin and how he can fit into American society as not just a man and an actor, but as a black man whose “race” is an inevitable part of what other people see when they see him, an inevitable part of the image he sees in the mirror.
You can read Phillips’ essays on his website.
I just sent an e-mail to the guy who runs my website, telling him to note that I’ll be at the Nordic Fest in Decorah, Iowa, July 27-29. I gave him a link to their web page. I then scrolled down the page and found picture of myself playing Viking last year, handsome in a red shirt. You can see it here.
World’s July 1 cover story is made up of lists of favorite books and films from various Christian artists, writers, thinkers, and public officials. The link won’t reveal the article unless you subscribe to the magazine, but here are a few of the selections. They chose favorites, not necessarily what they think is the best of the field.
- Scott Derrickson, Writer-director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, gaves The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell and the film Breaking the Waves.
- Brian Godawa chose Intensity, by Dean Koontz
- Denis D. Haack of Ransom Fellowship offered Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
- Joe Carter of The Evangelical Outpost chose Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card and Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman
There were many more selections, but you’ll have to find the magazine or subscribe online to get them and the other book and movie articles this week.