Pagerank

DORITO DOLDRUMS A sour observation in the New York Times book review (2/21) suggested that commercial fiction, that opiate of the masses, is comparable to a Dorito-a tasty but ephemeral treat with no lasting benefit. Literary fiction, however, is equated with “books of value,” a type of vital nutrition for the soul. I note that the author mentions the supposed financial rewards of commercial fiction (LOL) several times. With marked distain, she remarks that literary fiction exceeds “market value” and commercial appeal. Pity the poor purveyor of novels that seek to engage and entertain a wide audience. The literary establishment inveighs against such goals and often indoctrinates MFA students against them. Pretentious prose masquerading as “deep thinking” can bore the pants off readers. However, works by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and a fellow named Shakespeare were originally geared toward the masses yet cherished by millions of readers in subsequent generations. Commercial or literary fiction—you be the judge. I believe both can coexist peacefully without diminishing either. PS—I researched the author of that piece, a well-respected and erudite woman who has won numerous literary honors. Too bad that her published works sound as dull as dishwater. I guarantee that they will never pander to the great unwashed.

Face Time

                                                FACE TIME Like many of you, each morning I watch the national news shows eager to assess those being interviewed. More often than not people who should know better perform dismally in the spotlight. Some are quite...

BEWARE THE GREEN-EYED VERB

                                                BEWARE THE GREEN-EYED VERB Many people are beset by jealousy but writers, individuals who labor in splendid isolation without adequate recognition or compensation, are especially vulnerable to the slings and arrows of...

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TURNING A BLIND EYE All my life I have been blessed with abundant good health and I now realize how smug that has made me. When a crisis hit (detached retina), I was totally unprepared for the helplessness it sparked and the primal fear of blindness it provoked. In...

Dollars To Donuts

DOLLARS TO DONUTS Yesterday I received a disquieting message from American Express-you know, the pulse-quickening, heart-wrenching kind that warns of fraudulent credit card charges. My chat with an account representative revealed that 2 charges ($100. & $50.)...