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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Author Archive: "Dennis Lehane"

A Parting List

Now that this is my last post, I gotta say this blogging thing is hard. It's like being a DJ — not a club DJ but a radio DJ where the only product you're bringing to the table is your own voice to send out into the ether. I'm just not interesting enough to do that, I've now conclusively realized. Probably why I like hiding behind a cloak of fiction. I know how to tell stories; I'm not sure I know how to fill dead air with non-fiction or autobiography or opinion or, I dunno, non-storytelling stuff. I'm going to go out pseudo-High Fidelity style, with an arbitrary list:

  • Album that really holds up even though the band has jumped the shark: A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay
  • Best album by a band I haven't heard anything from since: Anytown Graffitti by Pela
  • Best rock piano on a recent album: Stay Positive by The Hold Steady
  • Worst decision by a rock band, 2010: The Hold Steady releasing an album after parting ways with their piano player
  • Most interesting celebrity


The Value of a Good Critic

I knew a writer once who said he imagined critics' faces when he went to the gun range. He went on to say that negative reviews took food from his children's mouths. Which begged the question, If a bad review steals food from your table, does a good review put the food back on? And do you then send a check to the positive reviewer? And would it be a check for regular supermarket prices or, like, Whole Foods?

We're losing critics left and right, just like we're losing newspapers left and right, and good journalists left and right, and I don't think any of it's a positive. An intelligent, non-snarky, articulate critic adds value to the culture. I've gotten slammed by critics I respect and thanked them for keeping me honest. I've gotten raves that meant nothing to me because they came from morons. Or from people who clearly hadn't read the book. (And that is the one type of critic I do reserve my contempt for. Not go-to-the-gun-range contempt but wouldn't-shake-your-hand contempt. If you get paid to do a job, you should do that which you ...

Dispensers of Narrative

Now that the elections are over, can the rage go away for awhile and take the rampant oversimplification of complex issues with it? That'd be really cool. I don't remember things ever being this divisive but then I haven't lived terribly long in a 24 hour news circus where the media trots out only the extremists to frame the debate. It feel like there's this country we used to be, and it's not the idealized Father-Knows-Best-lily-white-America thing the right seems to yearn for, it's just a place where things were a bit more civil.

Forget alcohol and crank and pot, the new national addiction seems to be to vitriol. Or maybe it's not. Maybe that's just the media ginning up the extremes to make things seem more divisive than they are. Makes for a solid dramatic narrative, I guess, and that's what the media seems to have become — dispensers of narrative. Which is funny because I thought that was the fiction writer's job. I keep thinking of that great speech Albert Brooks gives in Broadcast News when he's trying to convince Holly Hunter that she's ...

What’s Playing

Been on a reading/watching/listening tear lately because I’m solo which makes me cranky unless I’m occupying my mind in other ways. When it comes to books, I usually like any book I finish, not because I have no critical acumen but because if I don’t like a book, I never get past the first 50 pages. Some of the ones I’ve finished recently include Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, Life by Keith Richards, Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (the coolest noir I’ve read in a decade; I tell everyone about this book), and The Red Thread by Ann Hood. I also read a really kick-ass book in manuscript called Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson, whom I’ve never heard of ...

Book Touring

The book tour starts tomorrow, except it doesn't because tomorrow's an election day , so the tour really starts Wednesday, though the book comes out on Tuesday. I've never quite figured out why books, CDs, and DVDs come out on Tuesday but movies come out on Friday (and occasionally Wednesday) but never on a Monday, which is when hairdressers are closed (but not barbershops). But I digress (never a rarity)...

So I'm blogging and it feels weird. I've never blogged or tweeted or gone on Facebook (though my wife tells me it's quite nice). I don't even play video games. I am to computers what an abacus is to the NASA mainframe. I own a Mac specifically because Macs are designed, at a base level, for morons. And I am that moron. So thanks for putting up with me as I enter the cyber world.

My 10th book tour. Book tours are weird beasts. They beat the ever-living hell out of working for a living, and it rocks to meet anyone who takes the time to buy your book, read your ...

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