Doc Chuck’s Recommended Readings: Revisited

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In my classes at Lehigh University and the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College, I sometimes do something I call — Doc Chuck’s recommended readings.  I suggest a book for the students to read at another point in the future. I ask the students to write the title and author and then tell them that what they do with that information is entirely up to them.  Some of these works I consider to be among the best and most important books ever written, and some I simply found to be wonderful and entertaining.

Now, the list:

Doc Chuck’s Recommended Readings:

Agee, James and Walker Evans. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Allende, Isabel. The House of the Spirits.

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.

Brown, Larry. Fay.

Cervantes, Miguel De. Don Quixote.

Delaney, Frank. Ireland.

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities.

Doyle, Roddy. A Star Called Henry.

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose.

Gaiman, Neil. American Gods.

Grass, Günter. The Tin Drum.

Helprin, Mark. A Soldier of the Great War.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . The Pacific and Other Stories.

Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom The Bell Tolls.

Homer. The Iliad.

. . . . . . . The Odyssey.

King, Stephen. Hearts In Atlantis.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . The Stand.

Lee, Harper.  To Kill A Mockingbird.

Poe, Edgar Allan.  Complete Works.

Rice, Anne. Interview With the Vampire.

Rowling, J. K. The entire Harry Potter series.

Shakespeare, William. The Collected Works.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Shadow of the Wind.

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief.

I am certain there are many books I have forgotten to mention.  This is neither intended to be all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be authoritarian.  I hope that someone may find a book or books from this list, read them, and enjoy them.

What books would you add to this kind of list?

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GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

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A Meal and Conversation With Authors

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This idea of meeting with a few authors over a meal and having a conversation with them is something I have discussed before, and it was fun to consider. I have, therefore, decided to cover this scenario again.  I was thinking about with whom I would like to dine and with whom I would enjoy having a conversation, among authors, both living and dead. Obviously, for the sake of this idea, if an author is dead, he/she will be resuscitated for the meal and conversation.

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I consider myself an author of speculative fiction, which can encompass many genres, but one of my areas in writing, in teaching, and in study is Gothic/Horror.  Two of my novels, Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1 and Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 2 are both of the Horror and Gothic genres. I will be adding to this series, and I have already written the first draft of two other horror novels. Horror and Gothic have interested me since I was a youngster, and it will the rest of my life.

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I would like, therefore, to have a meal with 3 masters of this field: Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, and Bram Stoker. I think this would be an enlightening, provoking, stimulating, and lively conversation. I would raise a glass with them and toast to their enduring brilliance.

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My question, then, to all of you is this: with what three authors would you like to have a meal and conversation?

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

Magic in Stories: Revisited

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There is magic in stories; there is magic in writing. Magic is the transmutation of objects or the manipulation of the world in ways that move outside the realm of science. Whether or not magic is real in the sense of the here and now world is not the point; magic is a metaphor for fiction. Stephen King says, “books are a uniquely portable magic” (104). This magic is in the words, in their transmitting from the writer to the reader other worlds and ideas. In writing fiction, writers create a world that was not there; even so-called realistic, literary writers create an alternate world that readers inhabit when they read the book. The writers and the readers, in a mystical incantation, create another reality, one that can be so strong sometimes that readers can be moved to tears or laughter or sadness or joy or grief or sorrow or despair or hope. Readers come to care about the characters and feel empathy as if they were real. That is a kind of magic.

Neil Gaiman, in his introduction to Ray Bradbury’s  60th Anniversary Edition Fahrenheit 451, speaks to the power of the written word and stories: “Ideas—written ideas—are special. They are the way we our stories and our thoughts from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human. And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over” (xvi). It is through the creation of artificial worlds, no matter how speculative or fantastic, that we experience our world in more intensity and with deeper clarity than we had before. This act of magic is what we share as writers and readers. I am honored to be a mere apprentice in the magic of writing novels.

Works Cited

Gaiman, Neil. “Introduction.” Ray Bradbury. 60th Anniversary Edition Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Scribner, 2000.

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Quotations on Books

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“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

                                                                 Marcus Tullius Cicero

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“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

                                                                 Stephen King

 

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“Books are the lifeblood of humanity.”

                                                                 Charles F. French

 

Quotations on Writing

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“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

                                                                                 Ray Bradbury

 

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“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”

                                                                                 Tim O’Brien

 

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

                                                                                Stephen King

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Interview (part 1) with K.D. Dowdall, author of The Stone Arch Secret

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It is my honor to interview K. D. Dowdall, the author of the new romance mystery novel The Stone Arch Secret. This is a wonderful book, and I will soon post my review of her novel, but I can say that I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

First, I want to thank K. D. Dowdall for agreeing to the interview. So, let us begin.

Some writers have very particular schedules and places for their writing. Do you have a particular approach?

I have a writing/library room where I read, takes notes, develop ideas for writing the next novel and then I write.  I usually have most of the story, the beginning and the end in my mind before writing, very much like a synopsis and then the characters take over. 

 

When you think of your readers, what do you hope they get from your novel?

A book that is well-written, interesting, authentic, heart-felt, and honest. And, maybe come away with a new perspective of the world around them.

 

How would you describe your writing style?

I write with a poetic touch, generally, inasmuch, as I love to write very descriptive scenes  for emotional responses to different backgrounds, whether it is a church, a country road, a forest,  or a river running swiftly under a bridge. Often, I do this so that the reader can visualize a past memory or experience about what they are reading in my story.

 

Do you have a particular genre that you enjoy reading?

I like most genres, but I suppose I favor Historical Fiction.

 

Who are some of your favorite writers?

Some of my favorites are: Stephen King, Umberto Eco, James Joyce, Jack London, Joseph Conrad, Harper Lee, Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Anderson, Libby Hawker.

 

What books are you currently reading?

I am currently reading, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown, and Catling’s Bane by D. Wallace Peach.

 

What books and/or writers have inspired you?

On Writing by Stephen King, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Dubliners by James Joyce, The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Tidewater by Libby Hawker, Far From the Maddening Crowd, by Thomas Hardy, The Wolf and The Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and poets like John Keats, E. E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Sara Teasdale, and of course, William Shakespeare.

Once again, I want to thank K. D. Dowdall for agreeing to this interview. Part 2 will be posted soon.

You can find more information about Karen’s writing at these sites, and please treat yourself by getting a copy of her novel, The Stone Arch Secret.

The Stone Arch Secret is available on Amazon

https://karendowdall.com/

https://www.facebook.com/karenddowdall

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Doc Chuck’s Recommended Readings–Revisited

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This blogpost was written several years ago, but I thought it was worth revisiting, especially because I love to suggest books for people to read.

I had the good fortune this week of delivering a talk at the Muhlenberg College Board of Associates Meeting on the topic of Great Books.  I spoke with the audience for about 20-25 minutes about what I consider to be great books and why they matter. The main argument I made about the importance of books is that they connect us as people.  I am an unreserved humanist; I believe that human beings have the power to improve themselves, that education is crucial to develop of an informed  society, and that books allow readers to experience the worlds of others.

The audience was one of professionals from many fields but very few English Literature majors; however, their interest in reading and books was heartening for me.  They wanted to hear suggestions about what books I would recommend.

In my classes, I sometimes do something I call — Chuck’s recommended readings.  I ask the students to write the title and author and then tell them that what they do with that information is entirely up to them.  Since several of the attendees of this talk asked for further suggestions, I decided to put together a list, very abbreviated I admit, of books I would recommend.  Some of them I consider among the best and most important books ever written, and some I simply found to be wonderful and entertaining.

Now, the list:

Doc Chuck’s Recommended Readings
Agee, James and Walker Evans. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Allende, Isabel. The House of the Spirits.

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.

Brown, Larry. Fay.

Cervantes, Miguel De. Don Quixote.

Delaney, Frank. Ireland.

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities.

Doyle, Roddy. A Star Called Henry.

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose.

Gaiman, Neil. American Gods.

Grass, Günter. The Tin Drum.

Helprin, Mark. A Soldier of the Great War.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . The Pacific and Other Stories.

Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom The Bell Tolls.

Homer. The Iliad.

. . . . . . . The Odyssey.

King, Stephen. Hearts In Atlantis.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . The Stand.

Lee, Harper.  To Kill A Mockingbird.

Poe, Edgar Allan.  Complete Works.

Rice, Anne. Interview With the Vampire.

Rowling, J. K. The entire Harry Potter series.

Shakespeare, William. The Collected Works.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Shadow of the Wind.

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief.

I am certain there are many books I have forgotten to mention.  This is neither intended to be all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be authoritarian.  I hope that someone may find a book or books from this list, read them, and enjoy them.

Happy reading!

book-794978_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

wp-1476386546701-maledicus

 

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview