In Addition to the Story, There's. . .

While not encyclopedic in nature (Think Moby Dick, Ulysses, Seven Eves), Thinks Out Loud does contain some sections, not exactly asides, but somewhat self-contained moments that go beyond the 'essential' elements of the story. Still, that's not exactly what I mean. These portions, often within the novel's blog postings, run the gamut of industrial yoga, new Barbie roles, Trumpisms, updates on the royal family (or a branch of), South Seas fauna and flora, high-tech hiring techniques, high-energy particle physics.

What I am trying to say is that so-called non-plot segments only seem to be unrelated to the story at hand, but in their own way they either illustrate themes, reflect back on the person writing that blog posting, or come to have an impact in the characters' experiences later in the story. While the 'detours' might seem irrelevant or inconsequential, they are part and parcel of the book. Taking them out would reduce the novel to its bare bones, or even just a part of its bare bones. As a bonus, these flights of fancy are some of the funniest (in the author's subjective opinion) creations in the book.

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SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website,,  or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 



A Writer's Best Book

I've been thinking about writers and the books they write. Right now, I'm reading Amor Towles' Rules of Civility, a best seller set in the late 1930s, coolly written, featuring a witty young narrator trying to figure her way around the New York of pre-World War II. It's a good read. Fun. Spunky. Evocative. But. . .it's not the same experience as reading Towles' oh-so-smart A Gentleman in Moscow, which is enjoyable on multiple levels of story, understory, sentence craft and character revelation. Gentleman: Great. Rules: Pretty good. And that's okay. For I'm thinking, how many writers write a great book? A few. And how many writers write another great book? Fewer than few.

A quick trip up and around my book shelves reveals some great titles--Wharton's Age of Innocence, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Woolf's To the Lighthouse, Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Great reads. And all these novelists wrote more, some much more. But did they ever knock  it out of the park again? Did Wolfe ever achieve another Look Homeward Angel? Did Bellow ever equal Herzog? (And, believe me, I have enjoyed the other works of many of these authors, but not quite as much as the works I'm mentioning.) Think Pynchon and Gravity's Rainbow. Think Melville and Moby Dick. Even Erica Jong had her Fear of Flying (haven't read it).

Jane Austen aficionados would probably vote for. . .well, let's hear your choice. . . 

And now I cast the mirror at myself. Thinks Out Loud is my debut (first) novel. People have been saying some kind things about it. Standing so close to the words, I have a hard time being objective. I think it's unique. Unconventional. Diverting. Is it my 'great' book? (Not 'great' in relation to Literature, but 'great' or the best I am capable of. Pause. I'm working on a second novel, set in the early 1970s of post-love-in Berkeley, a coming of age story of a young man caught in the backwash of the late 1960s. Will my second book be 'greater'  (better) than my first? (Big multi-level question that also makes the assumption the first one has some merit.) 

Well, we (writers) can keep swinging for the fences, can't we?


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