Sunday, October 30, 2011

Current but Random Literary Tidbits

Credit: Portrait of Leonid Andreyev by Ilya Rapin, from his Wikipedia page

To underscore how all over the place I'm feeling right now, I thought I'd share a few tidbits from the great many books I find myself reading at the moment.  How I got to be at the point where I'm so clearly unfocused and reading so many books at once is another entry entirely.

Think and Grow Rich

Sound strategies so far, despite the extremely unfortunate example offered near the beginning of how great insistence and steadfastness can bring great swaying of men, which can bring great wealth.  It involves a little black girl standing tall in the face of her mother's boss/owner, who also owns a mill, and about how her mother needs fifty cents to get him something; he denies it, tells the girl to tell the mother to go without it, and the girl agrees with an unfortunate but hearty "Yessir!" and still stands there until she belts out that her mother needs the money--despite the owner's threat of lashing her.  When she finally belts it out, he stops what he's doing and gives her the money.  The gist of the example is how the girl dominated him (Hill's words) although he is clearly her superior.  She got her way because of her steadfastness, get it?  Other than that, the principles are sound, and basically involve steadfastness, dedication, Seeing It, Believing It, and so on.  Though I am not in the point in life where I can burn all my other bridges (as Hill recommends; his words), I do admit that I wrote a lot more and did more to succeed (besides lacking the talent I have now) with my writing than I have the time to do now.  Nothing drives you more than the inability to feed yourself and pay your rent.

The Return of the King

Fascinating--though dry; you can either get past it or you can't--series that takes much longer to end than the movies did.  The movies basically lacked two long sections of the books: Tom Bombadil, and Sauroman in the Shire.  Sorry to see it end and yet wanting to finish it at the same time.  Total immersion in another world, solely through description of legends and flora.

Short Story Collection of Zombies, edited by John Skipp

Don't ask.  Saw a Stephen King short story in there I hadn't read before, then couldn't stop reading all the others.  Included is "Lazarus," by Leonid Andreyev, one of the better Russian authors no one's ever heard of, who, as is apparently customary for Russian writers in the early 1900s, went a bit off his deep end after the Revolution, and died destitute and miserable (one often causes the other).  Anyway, the story is of the Biblical character, and the story, like the author, was a well-written and emotional bummer.  Evidently the author was a major figure in his time, and was famous for his ability to capture "what it means to be human" to the extent that he will make you weep openly.  (If you can get the collection, check out "The Emissary" by Ray Bradbury, too.)  "Lazarus" is free online because its copyright expired, so find it here or above and read it.  Comment below and let me know what you think.  It gave me a breakthrough of sorts with one of the many novels and stories and poems I'm writing all at the same time, as well.

But that's another entry.


  1. Well, you're definitely on the money about "emotional bummer" - though I suppose that would be hard to do if it weren't well written. Thanks for the link to "Lazarus" - wondering which direction it took your "breakthrough" through.

    The Infinite gloom that Lazarus exhumes reminds me of the gloom astronauts went experienced after returning to earth from flying in space. Since this was written way before that time, it's quite amazing.

    Only Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short stories have ever brought me down to this depth. Thank God we've got Halloween chocolate.

  2. Yes--gloomy stuff. At least the astronauts were comparing their return to an existential or spiritual high! Andreyev's literary bumming out came from his own naturally depressed personality!