Can I Critique a Man Booker Award Winner?


Sure! Just like anyone can critique your books and my books (and boy have they!). It’s really that simple, right? In a country that loves to tout it’s freedoms, there’s an abundance of people willing to give you their $0.02. Sometimes that criticism is based in knowledge and understanding. Sometimes it isn’t, but the fact remains that it’s everyone’s prerogative to provide commentary on the written word.

So, mine happens to be about a Man Booker Award winner and the book is The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Let me start out by saying that the book is written very well. The command of language is clear and the author’s ability to describe emotion and conflict is outstanding. Really well done. The story deftly jumps back and forth between present and past and closer past. I was really enjoying it. Then, this historical fiction suddenly became a romance. Was it part of the story? Yes. But, it became so flowery and fanciful that it really pulled me out of the flow.

It hasn’t stopped me reading. In fact, it pushed me to get back to the good stuff and I’m glad I did. Flanagan has a lot to say about life. But, now that I’m 4/5 of the way through, I keep scratching my head about those 3-4 chapters. They’re part of a pivotal plot point, so it’s not like they’re superfluous. It’s the approach I didn’t like. It was the sense that I’d started reading another book in that section and the all-too-obvious ending fell flat.

I started reading this because one reviewer made a comparison to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, one of my all-time favorites. Doesn’t grip me the way that book did, but it’s still a fine read. It’s subject matter isn’t pleasant though, so be careful. WWII POW slave camps described in every wretched detail. It’s horrific and haunting. If you do happen to read it, or have already read it, let me know if the romance throws you off as it did me.

Christmas is only 3 days away! Can you believe it? 😀 

I’m giving away more books!

To celebrate the launch of my upcoming YA fantasy novel, I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon over at Goodreads. This is a short-term giveaway that wraps up on September 7th, so head on over and sign up. Danny Dirks releases in ebook form on September 1st!

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Goodreads Giveaway!


I’m giving away ten (10) signed copies of the paperback version of my pseudonymous suspense/thriller, Divisible by Six, over at Goodreads. Book 2 in a trilogy, Divisible hits the ground running and races to an exciting finish. The fast-paced sequel picks up right where its well-received (avg 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon [21 reviews]; avg 3.93 stars out of 5 on Goodreads [44 reviews]) predecessor, Multiples of Six, left off.

If you’re a self-published author with a paperback, I highly recommend doing a giveaway over at Goodreads. It’s a simple and efficient way to generate interest in your book, and you might just get a review or two from it.

Haven’t heard of Goodreads?! Get thee to Goodreads! It’s a great place to do quiet marketing, be part of a book-loving community, and maybe sell a book or two.

Why YA? Why the heck not?

So, by now you might have heard about the whole Slate article kerfuffle over shaming adults for reading YA (ie, young adult) books (I won’t link to it. It doesn’t deserve the added traffic). In response, everyone and their brother has come to the defense of some of the most popular writing of the day. And why not? Just because writing is targeted to a particular audience, doesn’t make it any less poignant if done properly. YA novels are entertaining and typically focus on a time in our lives when we felt most vulnerable.

To be honest, I never read the article. Why? Because I saw through the title for what it was: link bait. I’m going to denounce one of the most popular reading trends of the day. Watch how quickly the hate mail and comments come flooding in. It’ll be our most “popular” article ever! So, I ignored it. Apparently, I was the only one. Sigh! And, I guess I’m not surprised. Should I be more offended about an article that belittles my chosen audience? Perhaps. But, honestly, has that article changed anyone’s mind? Do you now feel shame when reading your YA novel? No, and you shouldn’t. Do you know why? Because the argument fails at its core.

The simple fact is, if you’re reading, you have already won. Reading is good for you. It’s proven. Reading can prevent Alzheimer’s, make you smarter, make you less stressed, and improve your memory, among other things. Read what makes you feel alive. Read what touches your heart and motivates you to be a better you. Read whatever makes you want to keep reading! Whatever you do, don’t ever fall into the trap of believing that reading and shame should ever go hand in hand. Read on.