Neither Predictive nor Prescriptive, “The Bestseller Code” is Anything But

Neither Predictive nor Prescriptive, “The Bestseller Code” is Anything But

We’ve all read about studies that made us scratch our heads—research results that told us things we already knew, such as a healthy diet is key to living longer and people who exercise are in better shape than couch potatoes. “The Bestseller Code” is one of those studies.

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Two Chinese-American Novels Redefine the American Dream

Two Chinese-American Novels Redefine the American Dream

All the political talk about the place of immigrants in America under the present political climate got me on an immigrant-saga kick in my readings. I was happy to discover two excellent debut novels:  Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You” and Jade Chang’s “Wangs vs. the World.”

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Jess Row’s “Your Face in Mine”: Would You Change Your Race if You Could?

Jess Row’s “Your Face in Mine”: Would You Change Your Race if You Could?

Would you change your race if you could? In Jess Row’s provocative novel, Martin Lipkin does just that. He undergoes a racial reassignment surgery, changing his looks from white to black. He assumes a new identity and culture as Martin Wilkinson, a successful businessman.  

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Paula Munier’s “Guide to Beginnings”: Why the Opening Can Make or Break Your Novel

Paula Munier’s “Guide to Beginnings”: Why the Opening Can Make or Break Your Novel

The image of an open door graces the cover of Paula Munier’s latest writing book. It’s an invitation to learn and keep an open mind. It also reminds me of the proverbial door being slammed in a novelist’s face. “Competition is fierce—and that’s why your words must be fierce as well,” says Munier.

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Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” Transcends Science Fiction Genre

Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” Transcends Science Fiction Genre

In the futuristic society depicted in “Fahrenheit 451,” books are illegal and intellectual pursuits are considered dangerous. A fireman like Guy Montag makes a full-time career out of burning books and the houses where they are hidden. “It was a pleasure to burn,” he says, after a productive day at work.

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“The Circle” by Dave Eggers is the Satire for Our Times

“The Circle” by Dave Eggers is the Satire for Our Times

Imagine an all-encompassing global tech company responsible for creating “one button for the rest of your life online”—integrating and synchronizing all of your activities on the Internet, from shopping and banking to social media and entertainment, and possibly voting, too. The company is called the Circle in this wonderful satire for our tech-crazy, social-media-addicted times.

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Paula Munier’s “Writing with Quiet Hands” Delves Deep Into Effective Writing Practice

Paula Munier’s “Writing with Quiet Hands” Delves Deep Into Effective Writing Practice

Writing is many things to many people—a job, a career, a calling, or perhaps a hobby or a fantasy. Paula Munier says writing is so much more. “Writing is nothing less than a path to enlightenment,” she says in this ruminative and inspiring book. And the best writers are those who write with quiet hands, she adds.

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Top 5 Book Reviews: A Popular Writing Book Leads the List

Top 5 Book Reviews: A Popular Writing Book Leads the List

It’s December—time for year-end roundups. In this article, I’m highlighting the five most popular book reviews posted on this blog. I review only books I like. I don’t always choose new books. I’ve reviewed some books written by authors I know, although they didn’t ask me to do it. Most of my choices were recommended by friends. The rest caught my attention after reading about them.

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“The Girl on the Train” is No Ordinary Commuter in this Excellent Thriller

“The Girl on the Train” is No Ordinary Commuter in this Excellent Thriller

At first glance, Rachel is just like the thousands of people who ride the train to and from London daily. Anyone who commutes, as I have done for almost a decade traveling from New Jersey to Manhattan and back every day, will appreciate her experience. But, unlike most commuters, Rachel has an enormous emotional and psychological baggage that slowly unravels in this excellent thriller.

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