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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Writer's Life 7/11 - Hunting Souls

The literary life is not lucrative for the greater majority of writers. Sticking with it requires a persistence akin to madness. Some authors have dozens of books in them. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who publish only one. To me, given the ease and low cost of self-publishing these days (free at Create Space), that is just as baffling as the assembly-line-type works cranked out by the biggest names in the field. Karin Yapalater's An Hour to Kill was published in 2004 by William Morrow, a subsidiary of HarperCollinsPublishers. Having a book published by such a prestigious firm is as good as it gets for a writer. Oddly, she has not followed it up. I wonder why. It's a solid mystery, a first book of which to be proud. Was she disappointed by a lack of sales, which in turn jolted her self confidence? Was she simply satisfied that she'd been able to fulfill the dream of many - to write a book and have it published? Do other parts of her life take precedence? Since the book's bio blurb doesn't include much - MFA from Columbia's Graduate Writing Program - I ran a search and found a little more info at LinkedIn. She heads Integrative Health Practitioners, which is located on Park Avenue in Manhattan. That sounds more important than the selfish pursuit of writing. What I respect most about the novel is the authenticity of the psychological aspects. They seem plausible, which may account for the fact that the work has been translated into German under the title of Seelejagd, which translates to "Soul Hunting" according to a web source. I enjoyed that most of the action occurs in and around Central Park. Does it break new ground in the mystery genre? No, but it's a solid effort. It was a fast read once I became accustomed to her clipped style. Its 265 pages read like much less. Yapalater used a ton of run on sentences, which is fine in such works, as it quickens the pace. While I wouldn't label the novel sexually explicit, it goes further than most and should be avoided by those offended by such content. Eight readers at Amazon have rated An Hour to Kill, forging to a consensus of three on a scale of five. I'd go a little higher. Any layman who enjoys delving into the psychology of deviancy would probably find it interesting. I have no idea what professionals would think. A quote from Pushkin's poem A Little Bird is a key element of the narrative: "I have become accessible to consolation." For someone who has eight books in print and three others to come, I find it puzzling that Yapalater did not continue after an impressive debut.

Bjorn Lomborg conveys interesting ideas in an op-ed piece in today's NY Post. He believes that global warming is occurring, but states that heat is far less dangerous to humanity than cold. He cites a recent study of 74 million deaths across 13 countries, from the cold to the tropical. It found that cold was responsible for seven percent of deaths, while heat for only one half of one percent. Estimates calculate that 1.4 million fewer deaths will occur by mid century because of more heat waves and fewer cold waves. This lines up with a piece George Will did a couple of years ago in which he cited that every previous period of warming was a boom to mankind, chiefly because it made agriculture easier, and every period of cooling was disastrous. Will that remain the case? What if Al Gore's worst case scenarios - super storms, rising seas levels - occur? That might kill a lot of people. I'm not going to pretend to know what is occurring or what will occur, although I believe it is just as likely that climate change, if indeed it is any different than in past cycles, is caused by the shift in the earth's access or solar activity as by carbon emissions. I believe sea walls should be built. Wouldn't that create a lot of construction jobs? The restrictions politicians and environmentalists propose, which would hardly put a dent in temperatures, seem ludicrous.  

My thanks to the kind souls who bought and donated books today. Here's what the main location of the floating book shop looks like these days:

And here's a shot of what's available, minus a few books that sold or were donated post photograph:

Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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