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Scott Spencer Walks the Line by Nick

Scott Spencer now ranks among my favorite authors. Although, it should be mentioned I haven’t completed a single novel of his. I’m working on it. I know this because of his material, what he chooses to mine for his stories. He explores the tension between passion and guilt, violence and fragility. He deals with obsession often resulting in a turning point within the story; an act after which nothing can return to the way things were. It’s not so subtle, it’s often dramatic, and it keeps you turning the page.

Post-Freedom Reads by Nick

I should preface my messy observations by conceding that yes, I understand authors have been tackling messy, burdened marriages as subjects for some time, perhaps even a number of years before Franzen’s Freedom gave every happy couple a microscope and tweezers to dissect their supposed happiness and civility. To the many predecessors, to all who’ve written about a messy relationship in a Pre-Franzen world, I mean no disrespect, but your blip on my radar was just too remote for me to explore.

Graphic Novel Roundup by Nick

The past couple years have been great for the graphic novel. The genre is ripe for young artists willing to experiment, to push boundaries, to mold the tradition into their own vision. With continued exposure and recognition from ‘old guard’ traditionalists, 2012 promises to be another stellar year for the graphic novel and comic serial. Here’s a look ahead.

Exploration (and Savagery) by Nick

I just watched Nicholas Refn’s film Valhalla Rising . I’m not quite sure what I think about it other than it seemed to be a maniacal meditation on violence and savagery. A hallucination of hellish visions and hellish men performing hellish deeds. And yet, I do not believe this disqualifies it as objectionable or that it can only be enjoyed by those with questionable tastes, or, well, psychopaths.

Gritty suspense as a Jumpstart

I imagine it must take some training, and discipline, to become a professional art critic. Namely, a book reviewer. Aside from having an almost comprehensive knowledge base of literary art, one must exercise some semblance of professional distance from the work. It would be easy to give high marks to any work that moved you in a personal way, but it must also be important to award prestige to works that excel in their craft even if one personally disagreed with it. In a very roundabout way, I’d like compare this critics’ dilemma to becoming burnt out on fiction.

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