adventures in dysthymia

Monday, August 08, 2011

The release of my little picture book, A Mouse Is In The House, could have been an occasion for release parties, book tours, all the stuff that is traditionally part of publishing. At least, it could have been staged as an 'event,' if only online. Traveling, of course, being out of the question for me right now. Even to a local bookstore.

But the world doesn't work that way so much, anymore. Whether music or books, people tend to happen onto content online these days. Search engines are way more important than release parties now! So I'm not concerned about making big announcements for this little book or any future stuff, for the most part.

On the subject of releases and books and so on, I've had the opportunity to read a couple books lately, one released a couple years ago by a friend, the other the advance copy of a novel coming out in a month or two. That latter book, Sparrow Alone on the Rooftop, is written by my sister and niece (Jean and Mary James).

One thing this book and the other, The Guitar Pin, have in common is a Christian slant. Neither is overtly religious but each deals with good and evil in it own way. Otherwise, they are rather dissimilar! D. M. Grant's Pin is a novel of the supernatural. Well plotted and thought through, I'd say, and the motivations and psychology are laid out quite nicely. It is a bit wordy for my tastes, a bit too much description, too much tell rather than show, but I recognize this is the author's style.

To my thoughts as amateur literary critic, it is a bit reminiscent of Henry James or Frank Swinnerton in its approach. The story however is quite up to date set in a quite up to date Australia. The book is really at its best when the characters are doing something; it lags a bit when we get into long descriptive passages.

The other novel, the one by my relatives (yes, Mary James is Mean Mary, the musician), is a sparer sort of book, also set in the present in Mexico and Texas. I was impressed enough by it. I was impressed by both books, honestly, even while picking at nits while reading them. I suspect that both could have profited by the attentions of a professional editor. New eyes can often see things the writer missed -- just as music that has been recorded and mixed profits from being sent out to a mastering engineer for its final polish.

Yet both are completely readable and enjoyable as they are. Both know what they want to say and get it across to their audience -- that is the ultimate criteria on which all art must be judged.

No comments: