Reading Assignments

Yesterday I revealed that I have no earthly clue how to be a best-selling author with a blog and a brand and all those other things that marketing racketeers keep pettifogging at me about.  I may not know anything about marketing and being an author, but I do know how to be a writer.  I have learned to say things flat out when they are on my mind and I know how to do the two essential things that a writer has to know how to do… I can practice writing every day, and I can read.

If you are one of those few who actually read my blog regularly, you may remember some talk about the classic novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  Believe it or not, I know how to read and understand great books.  You can find me on to see some of the wonderful things I have been reading, and to decide if you might like them too.  If you are not on Goodreads already, why not?  That is now your next assignment, young reader.  Oops.   You know what they say, “Old English teachers never die, they just lose their class.”

Today’s little self-imposed book report is about a book that I read my senior year in high school, 1975.  It is called The Other by Thomas Tryon.  It is a book that was made into a movie.  The author is also a Hollywood actor that has been in many films.  He wrote the screenplay for the movie version.  But I have to tell you, the movie pales in comparison to the book itself.  Movies simply cannot give you the rich depth of atmosphere and the delicate psychological nuances that a book can.  Movies show you something.  A book can explain something in detail.  And that is a key difference.


Michael Beyer‘s review

Dec 22, 14  ·  edit
Read in April, 1975
This is a fascinating book for it’s ornate description of long-ago New England life, and the eerie way old houses and long-gone people can twist and mangle our lives. It is a psychological horror story about twin boys, Niles and Holland Perry. They are polar opposites. Niles is warm and loving. But Holland is distant, cold, and sinister. Their grandmother Ada, a lovely old woman with deep Russian roots, has taught the boys to play an ESP-sort of game, reaching out with their minds to feel what a bird feels, or a squirrel, or a magician to find out how he did a certain disappearing trick. She has no idea that the mind-game will have such a devastating effect on both the twins and ruin so many peoples’ lives. I cannot say more without revealing the magic the author uses to bring this book to a totally unexpected and devastating conclusion. This book is not everyone’s cup of tea… and it may be many readers’ cup of arsenic… but it worked its spell on me. I recommend it if you wish to be chilled to the bone marrow.
I am reading this book now for the third time.  It is rare that I read a book more than once, because every time through changes your perception of it and risks making you dislike it.  But certain books are immune to that effect.  And I am re-reading it now because I want to closely analyze the techniques he used to create his surprise ending.  There-in lies the reason for this reading assignment that I have given myself.  That is how I roll as a writer.

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Filed under book review, NOVEL WRITING

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