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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
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I have always been fascinated with the physical acts of reading books. It's something we don't much discuss. Critics often seem to regard 'readability' as a bad thing, something to sneer at, but what is wrong with wanting to communicate clearly? Popular non-fiction can become academic and abstruse, littered with notes and references. But Jason Goodwin's 'Lord of the Horizons', about the Ottoman…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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This is the first in a new occasional series about stories. Today let's look at so-called 'jumping the shark'. This is the moment when something happens in a story that's simply too much for the reader/viewer to swallow, and gets its name from an episode of 'Happy Days' in which Fonzie performs said stunt. It's also known as 'nuking the fridge' because of the moment when Harrison Ford protects…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
Let's talk about word power. And I don't mean that page in the Reader's Digest encouraging you to improve it. One of the things I find so disappointing about books like the megahit 'Gone Girl' is the flatness of the language, and 'Gone Girl' is certainly one of the better-written popular novels of the year. I know many are written in the first person, which requires a certain flatness - Kenneth…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
There's so little free space in newspapers now available to literary criticism that we tend not to write about books we don't personally get on with. Instead, we use that space to champion books that may not have come to the attention of readers. However, any writer who has also written criticism will tell you that they have 'problem authors'. After his first early novels I found myself unable to…
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