The Best of American Magazine Writing

To tell you the truth as  a kid, it was my ambition to become a journalist. I would have loved to have become one but in the India of the ’60s and ’70s where I grew up, it wasn’t considered to be a hot career. At least that was the case in my family.  I have loved and followed magazine writing over the years. As a writer myself, I have often felt the short, terse sentences and the pace of the articles written in magazines call for special skills. Some of these are  quite different from those you would need for a long novel, though basic elements of good writing would undoubtedly remain the same. Continue reading “The Best of American Magazine Writing”

Manreet S. Someshwar’s latest. Also Writers on Writing.

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s latest novel, ” The Hunt for Kohinoor” (Westland, 2013) is slated to be released  in mid-December 2013. As is common these days, you can pre-order this at Flipkart.  This, if I am not mistaken, is a sequel to her earlier book, “The Taj Conspiracy” which was very interesting. I loved her first book, “The Long Walk Home,” which was set in the Punjab at the time of the Partition. My best wishes go out to Manreet. May ” The Hunt For Kohinoor” be a super hit!

Many people have the urge to write and write well. However, not everyone makes the grade. In this context, I liked this blog post by Maria Popova in Brainpickings called, “9 Books on Reading and Writing.” With gems from authors like Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King, this post points you to books that can transform your writing.

A few extracts:

  • Anne Lamott in ” Bird By Bird, A Few Instructions on Writing and Life,”

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

  • Stephen King in his classic,  “On Writing:A Memoir of the Craft”

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

  • Ernest Hemingway in ” Ernest Hemingway On Writing”

” The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.”

The Kennedy Imperative: Leon Berger

Being an avid fan of both historical fiction and John F. Kennedy, I immediately reached out for Leon Berger’s “The Kennedy Imperative.” I find that this is the first of The Kennedy Trilogy and was published in September 2013 by Premier Digital Publishing. The other two are scheduled to be published later this year.

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“Case Closed” : Gerald Posner

“Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK” by Gerald Posner is by far the most comprehensive book I have read about that event that shocked the world way back in November 1963. First published in 1993 and now re-published in 2013 as an ebook, nearly 50 years after that fateful day in Dallas, Tx, Posner explains painstakingly why all the many conspiracy theories are just that, theories without substance. Continue reading ““Case Closed” : Gerald Posner”

“Deadly Skies”: Bernard T. Nolan

Who can write better about an air war than someone who has been there and seen it for himself? “The Deadly Skies: The Air War in Europe 1939-1945” is by Bernard Nolan who was a young co-pilot and later commander of B-24s and B-17s in the 8th Bomber Command of the USAF during the Second World War. This book, which covers the air wars in Europe from 1939 to 1945, is by a retired Lt. Col. in the USAF who flew 33 combat missions and is qualified to speak of the experiences air crew ( those in bombers, in particular) had in their long flights into far away Germany from bases in the UK. Continue reading ““Deadly Skies”: Bernard T. Nolan”

“Social Media For The Executive”: Brian E. Boyd, Sr.

Social media is fast enveloping our lives and there’s no getting away from it. Both professionally and personally, use of social media is sky rocketing by the day as more people jump into the fray to derive the benefits of a revolution whose time has come. Older people, both in business and in their own capacities, who were more skeptical a few years ago, now recognize that social media can give them benefits they had not imagined they would get earlier. Likewise, professionals and men and women in business see social media as a huge opportunity to communicate their brand and develop their business. Continue reading ““Social Media For The Executive”: Brian E. Boyd, Sr.”

“No End Save Victory”: edited by Robert Cowley

I have read hundreds of books about the Second World War but “No End Save Victory: Perspectives of World War II” edited by Robert Cowley must rank as being one of the best. I had looked at this book several times and kept it back in its assigned shelf in the library I use, daunted by its size, (688 pages), but some weeks ago I decided to give it another shot, and am so glad I did so.

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“Show or Tell?” : James Thayer

Have you as a writer felt dissatisfied with the quality of your output? Have you experienced a sense of inadequacy when your writing did not turn to be as great as you would have liked it to be? The chances are that your writing fell flat because you did excessive “telling” and very little “showing.” Continue reading ““Show or Tell?” : James Thayer”

“Assault From The Sky”: Dick Camp

I didn’t grow up in the US of those times, not did I grow up in North or South Vietnam. I grew up in the relative shelter of Madras in the South of India but as a kid  I was fascinated by the Vietnam War. Looking back at those times, some four decades later, I think some of the visual images  stayed in my mind, thanks to the pictures in “Life” magazine which we looked forward to most eagerly.

In this context, I was thrilled to recently read, “Assault from The Sky” by Dick Camp. The byline says, “US Marine Corps Helicopter Operations in Viet Nam.” This book was recently published in the US and Great Britain by Casemate Publishers.  Dick Camp himself is a war Veteran who won the Purple Heart and  served 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps before retiring as a Colonel in 1988. Camp writes, “I wrote Assault from the Sky as a tribute to the U.S. Marine Corps helicopter aircrews that performed so heroically during the Vietnam War.  Their bravery and intrepidity throughout a decade of war set new standards of the Marine Corps motto Semper Fi, Always Faithful.” Continue reading ““Assault From The Sky”: Dick Camp”