Archive for the ‘Classic’ Category

NEUROMANCER by William Gibson

One of the rare books to wear the coveted triple-crown of science-fiction, winning all three major prizes in the genre (the Hugo, Phillip K. Dick, Nebula awards), as well as being included on Time Magazine’s 1995 list, “All TIME 100 Best Novels,” it isn’t hyperbolic to claim that William Gibson’s 1983 classic, NEUROMANCER, is a must-read in our world of ubiquitous WI-FI, 24-hour connectedness, and the Blue Brain reverse engineering project, a world in which a recent Time magazine cover claimed The Singularity would be upon is in less than 40 years.

August 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Classic, Debut Novel, Hugo Award, Japan, Nebula Award Winner, Philip K. Dick Award, Scifi, y Award Winning Author

RAGTIME by E. L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow’s 1974 masterpiece, Ragtime, takes its name from the a style of music, the melodious offspring of blackface cakewalks and patriotic marches, that perfectly captures the optimism and energy of the America in the early 1900s. It’s aptly titled too, for Doctorow manages to capture the energy of the era, a time of hitherto unheard of growth and prosperity, a time when coal miners took on the capitalists for safer work conditions and fair pay, and won; a time when a single, socially- minded photographer, documenting immigrant ghettos, took pictures powerful enough to move a president and serve as evidence of the necessity of improved housing conditions for the poor; a time when American entrepreneurs amassed more wealth than some European monarchy, through little more than hard work and talent. However, it was also the era of Jim Crow legislation and the venomous prejudice that made it impossible for a black man to materially enjoy his success, say, by driving a shiny new Model T Ford – but more on that later.

July 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Classic, Facing History, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), NE & New York, New York City, y Award Winning Author

THE CRY OF THE OWL by Patricia Highsmith

American author, Patricia Highsmith, who died in 1995, left behind a respectable body of work. Highsmith is known primarily for her psychological thrillers, so perhaps it’s not too surprising that a number of her novels have been adapted for the big screen–including THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, RIPLEY’S GAME, RIPLEY UNDERGROUND, THE CRY OF THE OWL and THIS SWEET SICKNESS. Highsmith’s first novel, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, was made into a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock–a man with an uncanny ability to spot new talent. While STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is my all-time favourite Hitchcock film, it veers away from the darkest corners of Highsmith’s tale. I like to think that even Hitchcock wasn’t ready to wrestle with some of Highsmith’s controversial and insidiously buried themes.

July 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Classic, Mystery/Suspense

THE ARTIFICIAL SILK GIRL by Irmgard Keun

There is nothing fake or “artificial” about the heroine of this surprising work of fiction. First published in 1932 in Germany, it was followed very quickly by its English translation in 1933. It was an immediate hit for a young author’s second novel; praised for its pointed sense of humour as well as the underlying critique of society. The story, written in the form of the central character’s musings and diary, blends a young woman’s daily struggles to make ends meet with, an at times sarcastic, yet always, witty commentary on daily life among the working classes during the dying days of the Weimar Republic.

June 14, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Character Driven, Classic, Germany, Translated, World Lit

THE BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF BLACK MASK STORIES edited by Otto Penzler

Clocking in at over 1100 pages, THE BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF BLACK MASK STORIES s is an impressive collection destined for the shelves of noir and crime fans. This is a companion volume to THE BLACK LIZARD BOOK OF PULPS (and yes, I have a copy of that too). The 50 plus short stories, novellas and novels found in The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories have been “handpicked” from the archives of Black Mask Magazine. The magazine ran from 1920-1951, and as aficionados know, there are only two known complete collections of Black Mask magazine. Old or rare noir is pricey, so this collection is a must for all crime fans.

December 17, 2010 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags:  · Posted in: Classic, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Short Stories

COMEDY IN A MINOR KEY by Hans Keilson

To be comfortable in the world of the Kafkaesque, one must slowly climb up the literary ladder, page after page, year after year. My journey began with the likes of V.C. Andrews during my tawdry youth, and then eventually reached its pinnacle with Tolstoy, and of course, Kafka. Aside from my literary snobbery (which is nothing short of a veneer – I still love me some Sidney Sheldon), having entered Kafka’s abyss of absurdity and horror makes Hans Keilson’s novel, COMEDY IN A MINOR KEY, not only recognizable, but entirely brilliant.

December 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Classic, Holland, Reading Guide, World Lit