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Aren’t mystery novels kind of weird? Like, what does their prevalence say about our culture?

The most popular kind of fiction (in terms of sales) is, by a huge margin, the romance genre. And that makes sense to me. Falling in love is a major focus in our culture. I’d say it’s even more important than finding the right work, since, for most people, the latter is a pretty constricted […]

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[Wrap Up 2013] This year, I learned that I shouldn’t bank on any reading project that involves more than 3 to 7 books.

I’m a big fan of grand reading plans. A few years ago, I read all the Russians. The year after that, I read Proust. And last year I read lots of Victorian literature. At the beginning of the year, I announced that I was going to spend this year reading all of the 19th century […]

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The joy of short novels

Noir novels are often quite short. Absurdly short. They’re short in the way that books aren’t allowed to be anymore. James M. Cain’s novels The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity are between 30,000 and 40,000 words long. Jim Thompson’s novels are between 40,000 and 50,000 words long and most of the rest are […]

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Wherein I learn something about noir literature

If you follow my twitter feed you’ll know that I recently took Nick Mamatas’ 9-week fiction writing class at the Writer’s Salon in Berkeley. It was really good. The next session is starting on October 9th. If you live in the East Bay (or San Francisco) and you are a writer who is as good […]

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