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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Writer's Life 6/27 - Questioning

Molly Giles has won numerous awards for her short stories, many of which have appeared in respected anthologies and literary magazines. She has six books in print, five of them story collections. One, Rough Translations, was nominated for a Pulitzer and won the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction. I just finished her only novel, Iron Shoes, which was published in 2001. Although well-written, an easy read at only 239 pages, it never captured me. The story follows a 40-year-old female struggling with alcohol abuse, low self esteem, a distant husband and an odd relationship with her self-absorbed parents. The characters are well-drawn, realistic. I cannot pinpoint my lack of enthusiasm other than to say the book comes off as just another tale of family dysfunction, which everyone suffers to varying degrees. It's part of many great novels and films, a significant part of my own work. None of the characters is particularly likable, although that shouldn't matter in regards to evaluating a book's worth. So passive was I in reading Iron Shoes that I forgot to bookmark the passage that explained the title. Maybe it's just me. After all, Giles has quite a reputation as a teacher of creative writing. Amy Tan was one of her students. On a scale of five, I rate Iron Shoes 2.5. For an alternative view, check out her customers' reviews at Amazon, where 12 users forge to a consensus of 4.3: 

A New York Post editorial reports that more than 100 colleges have set up a Bias Response Team. Recently, a professor at Northern Colorado University was fingered by a student and received a visit and reprimand from the BRT. His crimes? He assigned an article on rising campus sensitivity and, on another occasion, asked students to consider opposing views on global warming and the transgender issue. Hardcore criminal is what he is.

Rapper 50 Cents was busted after a show on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. His crime? Profanity. What did authorities expect? No doubt they'll enjoy the taxes the event generated and any fines that are levied..

Kudos to the Iraqi army for retaking Fallujah, which fell to ISIS more than two years ago. Let's hope it will be able to hold that hellish city and master its next objective, Mosul. A lot of American blood and treasure was sacrificed to stabilize the country. The least the locals could do is fight to reacquire that stability. Will they surprise the world by doing just that? Stay tuned.

This morning talk radio host Mark Simone raised two issues that show the uphill fight Donald Trump will have in his presidential bid. A new NBC poll has Hillary leading by 12%. Only 25% of those polled were Republicans. Shouldn't the breakdown be split evenly among Democrats, Republicans and Independents? Also, on last night's debut of the new Match Game, hosted by Alec Baldwin, the panel was asked several questions regarding Trump, none on Hillary. One was a fill-in-the-blank to which all six panelists, one of whom was Rosie O'Donnell, replied "liar." The audience was wild with approval. The show was shot on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Simone also pointed out on recent shows that Gary Byrne, author of  Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate, is being shunned by the major networks.

My thanks to the Asian gentleman who purchased four books, among them Richard Wright's Native Son, and John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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