Why Do We Need Literature? Four Unexpected Benefits

fairoaks-3books1-cindyfazzipicDid you know that reading “Ulysses” or “To Kill a Mockingbird” helps you save time? Reading “The Grapes of Wrath” will make you nicer. A video by The School of Life explains some of the unexpected benefits of reading literature. (more…)

Where History and Fiction Meet: Top 12 Historical Novels

“Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier, a Civil War-era odyssey, is a best-selling and award-winning historical novel.

“Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier, a Civil War-era odyssey, is a best-selling and award-winning historical novel.

Historical fiction, the vast territory where history meets fiction, can be a story about prehistoric times or the Elizabethan era or the American Civil War. It can be a sweeping epic or a thriller or a bodice ripper. What is historical fiction? What makes for a good historical novel? (more…)

James Salter’s “A Sport and a Pastime”: Languid, Rich, and Memorable

A Sport and a Pastime Cover-Photo by Cindy FazziBook Review: “A Sport and a Pastime” by James Salter, first published by Doubleday in 1967

James Salter’s “A Sport and a Pastime” reminds me of a five-star resort. It’s luxurious, oftentimes impractical, but always pleasurable. Don’t go looking for the basics. Everything is extra. (more…)

In Praise of the Here and Now: Top 10 Present-Tense Novels

ASportandAPastime-CindyFazziPhoto

James Salter’s “A Sport and a Pastime” is a fine example of a present-tense novel.

“September. It seems these luminous days will never end.” This is how James Salter’s 1967 novel, “A Sport and a Pastime,” begins. The unnamed narrator is describing Paris—in the present tense. It made me pause because countless writing workshops, articles, and panel discussions tell us the same thing: Don’t write your novel in the present tense. (more…)

Are You a Literary Snob? 6 Signs to Watch For

A literary snob, like a driver on a road with no sight distance, has a narrow view. (Photo by Cindy Fazzi. Makena, Maui, July 2014.)

The literary snob, like a driver on a road with no sight distance, has a narrow view. (Photo by Cindy Fazzi. Makena, Maui, July 2014.)

Is reading literature a form of snobbery? Literature has always been associated with the upper class because traditionally only rich people have access to it. They are also more likely to have the education necessary to appreciate literature. But in this day and age of global communication, when you don’t have to be able to read or understand a single word of French to appreciate Proust, is it still snobbish to read “Remembrance of Things Past?” (more…)