Category Archives: Book Reviews

Love is the slowest form of suicide–Fiza Pathan

AN INTERVIEW WITH AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR FIZA PATHAN OF MUMBAI, INDIA
Fiza Pathan, a very young self-published author, recently was awarded three prestigious book prizes, one at the London Book Fair and two at the New England Festival of Books.

This is a penetrating interview with her editor, Margaret Langstaff, about how and why she writes. Shocking candor, shocking themes.
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“Hunting the Deceitful Turkey” – Mark Twain

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! This is from a 1906 issue of Harpers magagine.  Twain’s dry wit and lame brained (fake) susceptibility to always be out witted by any animal that ever tread the earth (so sweet, amusing) is in full flower here. … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Literary Classics, Literary Lions, Literature, Reading, writers | 15 Comments

All Is Well That Ends Well – Goodreads Catastrophe Reversed!

FINALLY the problem seems to be solved.  I’m holding my breath, though. Shouldn’t have taken so long IMHO in view of the length of my membership, my activity as a reviewer and author. Anyway, dear friends, WHEW!!!

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“It all comes out of that first line.”– E.L. Doctorow, 1931-2015

Writing advice and memories from prolific, revered literary American Novelist, E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime, The March, Billy Bathgate and more!) From The New York Times (with video interview!) E. L. Doctorow: 1931-2015   (link) By Emily B. Hager | Jul. 22, … Continue reading

Posted in American Literature, American novels, Book Reviews, fiction, Literary Lions, Literature, New Yorl Times Book Review, NYTBR, publishing | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Letter G The April A to Z Challenge #AtoZChallenge

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:
Day 7 of the April A to Z challenge and you are joining me for my book character them, plus some audience participation below. Letter G is for Garnet Sullivan in The Devil, The Diva…

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Music to My Ears

After three years my MARLIN, DARLIN keeps on garnering great reviews. The latest — 5.0 out of 5 stars Thrills, Chills, rofl, Realism, and Just Plain Good Writin’!, February 8, 2015 By Deborah A. Bowman, author – See all my … Continue reading

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Free Books! Not Many, But Good Ones

[Also posted as separate page on the blog] Review Copies Each month I’ve informally off the record given away review copies of my books, usually three to five a month, to my followers with the understanding these eager readers will … Continue reading

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Marlin, Darlin’ by Margaret Jean Langstaff

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:
Marlin, Darlin’: Garnet Sullivan Live from Florida #1 by Margaret Jean Langstaff My rating: 5 of 5 stars Marlin, Darlin’ is a very well written and fun mystery set in Florida. Garnett Sullivan earns her…

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The Ongoing Angst of Culling My Library – Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter

My long-suffering bibliomaniac followers have endured several of my white knuckled announcements of this or that treasured title that has to take a hike to a new home. Now I’ve stumbled on something I’d forgotten I’d had and darn well … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Elizabeth Hardiwick, Literature, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Reading, The Flowering Judas, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

THE MASKS OF GOD by Joseph Campbell – a Never-ending Story

I don’t usually post reviews here, but Joseph Campbell and his luminous learning and erudition continue to stun me even after my years as a graduate student–and that’s a long time ago.  He inspired my master’s thesis, “Emily Dickinson and … Continue reading

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Mystery Book Blog Tour – Look Out!

Some of you may be aware that I am not simply a dull over-educated literati, but also have a wild frivolous side to my writing and writing tastes. This “side” of me has produced to date two crazy funny Florida … Continue reading

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Oh, Eliot, You Wonderful, Infernal, Old Dog of My Heart

       (c) Copyright 2014, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ― T.S. Eliot I received a jolt, as I always do, when I opened … Continue reading

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Review: Twilight’s Indian Princess – Margaret Jean Langstaff

Originally posted on onlybooksandhorses:
I received this book as part of Rosie Amber‘s Book Review Team. Twilight’s Indian Princess: Book 1 – Margaret Jean Langstaff – 4 stars Okay, what just happened? This is forty pages of pure psychological weirdness.…

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Mouthing Off – Some of my brief recent reviews of worthy new books posted elsewhere

For the heck of it, and because I love spreading good news or putting in a good word about books and movies new and wonderful, it occurred to me that I might re-post some of my on the fly mini-reviews … Continue reading

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Banville on Banville – A Great Contemporary Novelist Speaks Frankly

One of my favorite novelists interviewed by the PARIS REVIEW From THE PARIS REVIEW John Banville, The Art of Fiction No. 200 Paris Review Interview with British novelist John Banville EXCERPT Interviewed by Belinda McKeon When I first arrived at … Continue reading

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Writers & Reviews

Though many author friends of mine claim they “never look at reviews” of their books, assuming the transparently fake pose of pretending utter indifference and total superiority to what the mass of the reading public may actually think of their … Continue reading

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THE LONG SHADOW: Flannery O’Connor’s Masterful Use of Dread and Foreboding in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

Copyright © 2014 by Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved. THE LONG SHADOW Scholars and critics have poured over O’Connor’s amazing literary achievement in her story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” for decades. The power and inevitability of the … Continue reading

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“A Good Man Is Hard to Find”– A “Perfect” Short Story?

(c) Copyright  2014 Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved It occurs to me as I approach writing an appreciation of this story that a reader’s ability to respond to it, let alone appreciate it, is not a sure thing anymore today. … Continue reading

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In Her Own Voice: Flannery O’Connor Reads Aloud A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND

This recording will add tremendously to the reader’s understanding of this classic story. Straight from the horse’s mouth, a great author in her own voice tells the story in the way she wanted it to be heard and interpreted. This … Continue reading

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“The grandmother did not want to go to Florida.” Flannery O’Connor’s Mastery of the Short Story Form

(c) Copyright 2014,  Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved. “The grandmother did not want to go to Florida” is the first line in O’Connor’s short story masterpiece, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” It is a masterful opening line in … Continue reading

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“What Each of Us Is Seeking the Poet Already Knows” – Harvard Classics (now free online)

Poetry: A General Introduction. HARVARD  CLASSICS The Harvard Classics have just now become available–for free– online. The nearly 60 books in this series are so well written, erudite, thoughtful and stimulating, that I want to share them with you. If … Continue reading

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The Library of America

If I am not careful, I am going to start sounding like a stodgy member of the literary establishment–NOT!  I think serious writers have to keep their distance–a safe one–from received opinion in order to access what it is that might … Continue reading

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Fllannery O’Connor on “The Meaning of a Story”

From THE HABIT OF BEING: THE LETTERS OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR, P.437 [O’Connor was frequently aggravated and frustrated by mis-readings and misunderstandings of her work by people who she felt should know better and who should have had the intellectual background … Continue reading

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More Than Just a Habit–The Letters of Flannery O’Connor

The recent attention and acclaim Flannery O’Connor’s previously unpublished “Prayer Journal” has received inspired me over the holidays to pull out my well-thumbed marked up copy of her selected letters, THE HABIT OF BEING (edited by Sally Fitzgerald and originally published … Continue reading

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Holy Moly! Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal is a Hit!

Marilynne Robinson’s review of this new O’Connor book (really an unedited—by O’Connor– journal written in a spiral notebook when she was but 20 years old and enrolled in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop) is both stimulating and revealing. Robinson was an inspired … Continue reading

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Ah, Victory!

I have always enjoyed Joseph Conrad’s work, but have approached it rather haphazardly, catch as catch can, picking up a novel here and there, savoring it, then moving onto something else, usually a more sunny optimistic novel or book, for … Continue reading

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On the Need for Critics, and the Means by which their Field might be Improved

Originally posted on digital didascalia:
In an interview with Nathan Rabin over at the A.V. Club in May of 2007, Louis C.K. remarked with pointed reprobation the distinction between critic and reviewer:  To me, there’s a huge difference between criticism…

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Skeered to Death! The Headless Horseman Rides Again!

     It never fails, every October, in advance of Halloween, I think of this nightmarish freak featured so prominently in Washington Irving‘s timeless tale THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. What a rip roaring hair-raising tale for kids of all ages … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Humor, Literature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Happy Roald Dahl Day! Hurray!

Originally posted on Harriet & dee:
Today, 13th September (which just so happens to be a Friday. Unlucky for some, but not me, all my days are full of lots of luck and loveliness) is Roald Dahl Day! On what…

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SALINGER To read or not to read? Get outta here

  I will make this short and to the point.  Vitriolic is not my customary tone in talking books. But. The new over-hyped “literary biography” of J.D. Salinger, SALINGER, is the biggest, most blatant rip off of an artist’s life and … Continue reading

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DON’T TRIP ON THE TROPES: “There Came a Day at Summer’s Full Entirely for Me”

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved. Here is another beautiful example of Emily Dickinson‘s “sacramental” relationship with the natural world (cf., my previous posts).         THERE came a day at summer’s full Entirely for me; I … Continue reading

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“This book will part your hair”

Here in the dubious off-kilter state of Florida, it’s coming on “the season.” Those clued into what that means notice their hair stands on end with more alacrity than is usual at NOAA news of happenings (waves, depressions, rotations) as … Continue reading

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Have you read or are you reading PRESENT SHOCK by Douglas Rushkoff?

I am midway through it now and finding it disturbing, stimulating, revealing about many burning issues of our time. Particularly what Rushkoff has to say about: THE COLLAPSE OF NARRATIVE THE FALSE NOW THE DISSONANCE BETWEEN OUR DIGITAL LIVES AND … Continue reading

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Our Words Indict Us

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights  Reserved “What a piece of work is man.”  It takes genius to fully render him, both in time and for all time. Trying to verify a phrase and give correct attribution for a … Continue reading

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“When I have Fears that I may Cease to be” by John Keats (read by Tom O’Bedlam)

Originally posted on Learnalltheway:
John Keats, Portrait by William Hilton, after Joseph Severn (National Portrait Gallery, London). (Photo credit: Books18)   When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be BY JOHN KEATS When I have fears that I may…

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This Quiet Dust

      (c) Copyright 2013 Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved [What follows is a rambling, ruminative follow-up to a book review I recently posted on Goodreads. Books that address ultimate questions often have such a residual effect on readers. I beg … Continue reading

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Lay on, Macduff!

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved There are some things you just shouldn’t read at bedtime and I’m here to tell you Macbeth is one of them. And, for that matter, probably any one of Shakespeare’s tragedies is … Continue reading

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A Valentine for Emily Dickinson

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved. WARNING, STUDENTS: DO NOT COPY & PASTE We’ll get ya, count on it! For all the critical and popular acclaim she receives today, the poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) passed her life in … Continue reading

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