Ode to Aged Books

Upon these shelves dear friends of long ago
Await a visit though layered dust
Suggests a case of broken trust

A sharing delayed as years come and go
And now when trying to renew the bond
To find them musty yellow though still fond

For even though unopened they await
A kind embrace and chance to demonstrate
True links that yet remain while brittle page
Foretells a fate that comes with span of age
One last caress and honoring apart
Removed from shelf but still within the heart.

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Will this be the fate of Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First, forty years hence (if the book is still around)?

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THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition.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

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.

More at: https://www.thinksoutloud.com/

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, thinksoutloud.com,  or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 

 

 

Carried by a breeze: Books take on a life of their own

It happens to paintings, music, film and books. Once the artistic creation is completed and sold in its various ways, the entity takes on a life of its own, independent of the creator's original intent or goal. In the case of novels, the book is read and digested and oftentimes interpreted and experienced in ways an author might be surprised by. In essence, the book becomes detached from the writer and can even be carried away by unseen currents to land in unexpected places.

Reactions to the book can be affected by trends in society, unexpected turns of events in the political, social and artistic worlds. Concepts the author never explicitly considered can suddenly become the lense through which the book is seen and even judged. And all of this is magnified if the author is writing a satire, which adds a layer of interpretation that is sometimes understood yet often is not perceived by the reader who traverses the work with a different frame of reference. From the writer's point of view, the off-course reader fails to see and appreciate the actual meaning the author attempted to convey. Readers, however, are bringing their own point of views, life experiences and perspectives to bear--with the potential of different reactions and interpretations.

In the case of Thinks Out Loud, I, the author, created a style, tone, and characterization clearly conveying a satirical take on the high-tech world, one that seems to be more and more accurate with each passing day. Or did I? A reader might experience the book in a different and unexpected manner. Satire? No way. It's a vitreous attack on the high-tech world! No, it's actually a tragedy of a romantic hero who tried to reach a higher level of existence. Etc. 

No matter how it's being interpreted, Thinks Out Loud is now aloft, drifting along on currents, landing in unexpected places and being experienced in unique ways. All beyond the 'control' of the author. What all this means is that the reader completes the artistic, creative cycle. And that is a valuable and essential role, for if a book falls in a forest and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound? 

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, thinksoutloud.com,  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?

 

Moby Dick.jpg

A little fun on YouTube plus an important update

Partly for fun but also for marketing purposes, I made a short video introducing Thinks Out Loud. Nothing fancy. Just me talking about the book for a minute and a half. Here's the link.

Now for the important update. Between printings, the publisher fixed some typos from the first printing. And we also found a printer that is providing an edition that features a darker, more legible text. Two improvements in one!  And given those new features, if anyone who bought a book from the first printing wants a cleaner copy from the new printing, the publisher will send it your way. All you have to do is pay for posting and handling at $5.00. 

Contact us via this website or my email, marperl@centurylink.net.