Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Writing in short choppy sentences is neither attractive nor artistic. Elongating them is just ugly self indulgence. To put it bluntly, just put it bluntly.

I dislike male authors who write for typically female audience for the same reasons I dislike women authors. There’s just too much damn clutter and a propensity for not telling it like it is, but giving the author’s impression and why. I want to read the story. I want to get from start to finish in as entertained a fashion as I can not spend the entire time trying to sift through the psychological baggage of the author. I have my own baggage; I don’t want theirs as well. I bought the book because I want to read a story, not get an author’s impression of events.

Fortunately, I didn’t buy the book.

Nor will I recommend it and anyone who asks me if I have read it is going to be told I put it back on the shelf after reading the first three pages and skimming through bits and pieces of it. I cut to the chase but even that was painfully beset with literary clutter. I was expecting at any time to see the author address the reader with an example of how an event their life was eerily similar to the story in the book. Instead, I was left thinking the author must have issues with which they can only deal by writing things down in the third person as if these terrible events happened to someone else – only the events weren’t terrible, they were just terribly dull. Anyone who spends two entire pages describing rain hitting a storefront window and being reminded of a family barbecue is not writing a story, they’re wasting time. And for anyone who cares to notice, the beads of condensation running down the sides of a glass filled with champagne look absolutely nothing like raindrops running down a huge storefront window. No they don’t.

This particular book was written by a woman. I’m not going to tell you her name or the name of the book, so don’t waste your time asking. The fact is, I didn’t get the author’s name and I forget the title of the book.

I found myself looking at books because of two I’ve had my nose in recently. The first is the thousand page documentary of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer and I find myself questioning the accuracy of his work which really is off putting. I’ve already spotted one mistake – or out and out lie, I’m not sure which – and a fair amount of other stuff just doesn’t quite gel with other information I have.

The other book is Account Settled by Hjalmar Schact, who was Hitler’s Minister of Economics from 1934 until 1937. Now, Schact is no writer but he has a hell of a story and it’s the story that is interesting. In fact, it’s better than interesting. There just isn’t a whole lot of aesthetic detail.

Shirer’s book is fascinating for its historical value, but he smatters the pages with his personal opinions. The truth is, he wasn’t present when Ribbentrop signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Stalin, so he has no claim to report how the two men behaved that night based on the available information.

Where Shirer was present in Germany and Austria prior to 1939, he gives descriptions of parades, radio broadcasts, the mood of the populace and so on. That’s valid as far as I’m concerned.
The rest isn’t.

Is it just me, or are things changing in the world of authors?

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