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#647 - 07/03/99 06:52 PM Column
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
I have a new column up at MysteryPages:

http://www.mysterypages.com/bpaul.html"

The title of this one is "Five Bad Ways To Choose a Mystery Novel".

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#648 - 07/04/99 09:41 AM Re: Column
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Great column, Barbara! Thanks for the alert!

(I noticed one trifling typo "or men" instead of "for men," that can perhaps be fixed at some point during the column's tenure.)

Some of the attitudes you described were very familiar to me, some new (people really say those things, huh?). I'll confess that there are situations when the size of a book is a consideration: when I know I'll have a lot of time to fill and absolutely don't want to run out, like jury duty or a long plane trip (I have a Guy Gavriel Kay I'm saving for my flight to Seattle in August).

Point of view's an interesting thing. I wonder if others have shared my experience of picking up a book again after a lapse of some years, and discovering that I remembered it being in first person when it was in third, or vice versa.

"Identifying" is something that sometimes comes up when I teach music literature ("Oh, I can't identify with stuff like that" someone might say). My approach to the notion is to urge them to try -- to think of identification not in a complacent but an exploratory way (like an actor's task, and as musical performers they're faced with the same thing): WHAT IF my life were like that, WHAT IF I had to go through those experiences, WHAT IF I lived then, and so on. As I propose it to them, identification can be a way of stretching beyond what one has already experienced, rather than smugly staying within it.

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#649 - 07/04/99 02:58 PM Re: Column
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Very good advice....another book that can ONLY be told by the narrator (who, sort of, cheats) is Christie's classic Roger Ackroyd And then there is Barbara Paul's First Gravedigger.

As for books by men, in addition to Francis, whose stuff I like very much, one of my favorite books is Peter Dickinson's King and Joker which is both a mystery and a fascinating exercise in alternative reality. And has a very winsome heroine from whose viewpoint the story is pretty much (3rd person) related.

As for identifying with the character--back to Francis. I've never been on a horse in my life!
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