The Storyteller - Fiction Books!
Review by Jessica Dearborn
Tolucan Times / Canyon Crier - California
"The Storyteller, Volume I" by Martha Whittington
AuthorHouse, Paperback, 514 Pages, $24
When inspiration hits, it is usually followed closely by desire. A willingness to do
whatever it takes to explain your inspiration, to create a picture. For a writer, her
tool is her pen. Storytelling in and of itself can be quite a challenge. For example,
what are you going to talk about? What story are you going to tell? You must have a
beginning that truly grabs, a keeper climax in the middle, and a bring-it-all-back-
together-again, ending. And, the dialogue? you constantly find yourself asking,
"Do people really talk like that?" At that point you will either cringe, cry, laugh, or
simply allow yourself a few moments of madness as you do all of the above
mentioned, plus tear your only copy to mere scattered pieces of what used to be.
Foreboding as it may be, writing can also be individually and socially rewarding.
That is, if you should decide to tread through your insecurities and walk the
uncertain path to the publishing world. Many fear this path and will therefore, never
walk it. On the other hand, there are writers who are not afraid and not only do they
walk it, at times they skip. And this is due to having a few good stories to tell.
Besides, that's all a writer needs, anyway? a good story.
Martha Whittington has earned the right to tell her stories. She trekked around the
world in her early twenties, no doubt having her own adventures, making me
wonder where she has been and what she's seen during her travels. And with her
memories, experiences, and creativity, she has brought to the reader a colorful
novel filled with mystery and encourages every reader, with the turn of each page,
to utilize all of their imagination.
The author shares some of her tales in "The Storyteller, Volume I." It contains six
short stories titled: "The Fennigan Case," "A Unique Team," "The Hidden
Knowledge," "A Gifted Child," "The Witch," and "Sand." Although there is an obvious
lack of editing, and the language and grammar are careless, the stories are
compelling and are worth delving into. In "The Fennigan Case," two rookie reporters
are sent out on a last minute assignment that takes them through a walking
nightmare, and then they disappear. "A Unique Team" is centered on the
consequences of a man's choices. Within the pages of "The Hidden Knowledge,"
there is a teenaged boy who discovers he has a special gift that changes his entire
existence. In "A Gifted Child," a child is born with the kind of soul that when
combined with his discovered powers, he becomes less and less likely to be voted
as Mr. Popularity. "The Witch" is a tale of a malicious woman that terrorizes a small
town. And finally, "Sand" rejoices two brothers bond, and the perils they endure
throughout their travels. Whittington's storytelling ability is magical.
All the stories
are luring, some nail biting, and there are moments that are a little hair-raising. It
captures the readers' senses; inevitably questioning that in which you thought you
knew. Once you regain your composure, it's interesting to reflect on the story and
the characters that you've met. To assume you know where the story will take you is
na´ve. Martha Whittington is a naturally gifted writer and storyteller, and her work
deserves to be read and acknowledged. As for her courage of facing the unknown
world and the other world of publishing, she is fearless and inspiring.
Denis Johnson, the award-winning fiction writer, poet, and playwright whose best-known and most influential work, the story collection Jesus' Son, turned 25 this year, has died. He was 67. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.
Margarita Engle has been named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Awarded every two years, the $25,000 laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. The laureate advises the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to young people's literature.
Suite Française, adapted from the bestselling book by Irene Nemirovsky will premiere on the Lifetime network May 22.
Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Book Passage--with stores in Corte Madera, Sausalito and San Francisco, Calif.--and co-owner Bill Petrocelli have filed suit against a state law that, the plaintiffs say, "will make it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell autographed books or host author events."
Petrocelli said that the law's "expensive mandates--with voluminous reporting requirements and draconian penalties--create a nightmare for independent booksellers that thrive on author events and book signings. Consumers will also suffer. The tradition of author events at bookstores, with opportunities for direct interaction between writers and readers, will be shattered. The cost of record-keeping and major liability threaten to make book signings impossible, and stores such as mine do not want to engage in the massive intrusion on customer privacy that is mandated by the law's reporting rules."
Several publishers and authors organizations have officially joined the many book world people criticizing Amazon's new policy allowing third-party booksellers to "bid" for the primary spot in buy buttons.
A statement from the Authors Guild called the move "deeply disturbing" and said it "has the potential to decimate authors' and publishers' earnings from many books, especially backlist books." It noted, too, that the policy might be connected with Amazon's desire to force publishers to use its print-on-demand services, if POD availability will essentially guarantee a top spot on buy buttons. Such an arrangement, the Guild wrote, "looks an awful lot like a 'tying' arrangement under the antitrust law."
The statement concluded: "Amazon has already done enough damage in the book industry. It has devalued books by setting the price and consumer expectations for e-books and hard copy books artificially low, even taking a loss to do so. And it extracts an unreasonable fee from the sale of any book through its site, as compared to the services it provides, and charges extra for things it calls 'marketing services,' such as making a book discoverable on its site. Amazon gets away with this because it has monopoly and monopsony power over the retail book industry. Without a fair and open publishing marketplace, publishers will soon lose the ability to invest in the books that advance our knowledge and culture."
A new program from Amazon is drawing a range of reactions from those across the publishing industry, from fear to downright anger. The e-tailer has started allowing third-party book re-sellers to "win" buy buttons on book pages. The program, publishers, agents, and authors allege, is discouraging customers from buying new books, negatively affecting sales and revenue.
Once every 10 years Granta issues a special issue focused on new American fiction, "showcasing the young novelists deemed to be the best of their generation--writers of remarkable achievement and promise, still in their twenties and thirties."
It's Best of Young American Novelists of 2017 list includes "21 outstanding writers who capture the preoccupations of modern America." The authors are: Jesse Ball, Halle Butler, Emma Cline, Joshua Cohen, Mark Doten, Jen George, Rachel B Glaser, Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Garth Risk Hallberg, Greg Jackson, Sana Krasikov, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, Dinaw Mengestu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Chinelo Okparanta, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Claire Vaye Watkins.
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, died yesterday at age 88.
First published in 1974 by William Morrow, the book was a spectacularly popular philosophy book that was loosely autobiographical, tracing a father-son motorcycle trip and flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Its thesis was that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought. Pirsig called this system of thought the Metaphysics of Quality.