Books & Authors

Posts about books I love, authors I admire, and so on

On creativity and fear

Creation is an act of defiance against fear. Whether writer, musician, artist, or other variation on the theme of Creative Person, all of us at one point or another struggle between our insatiable need to create and a nagging demon whispering to us, “You can’t do it. You will never be great.” So when we sit down and put words on the page or send musical notes to the ears of our listeners, we are rebelling against that fear. Where others are intimidated by failure, by the sometimes insurmountable challenge of turning their creative vision into reality, we fight on. Sometimes. Because at other times, that fear can grind us to a halt. We realize that what we’re trying to do borders on insane. Wouldn’t…
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Bigfoot in New Jersey?

It goes without saying that I have an interest in the New Jersey lore and history. You don’t tackle a book like Lakehurst: Barrens, Blimps & Barons without a strong interest in what goes on off the beaten path here in the Garden State. I especially like the odd, offbeat stuff you’ll find in legendary local magazines like Weird NJ or in regional classics like The Jersey Devil (a book I’ve probably read four times). Folks outside the state only seem to know the stretch between New York and Newark airport, but those of us in the state know New Jersey has a healthy dose of weirdness. Which brings me to Bigfoot in the New Jersey ‘Burbs, a new book by William Taylor that delves…
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Last thoughts on Bradbury’s passing

I have already posted about Ray Bradbury’s passing, but he had such a big impact on me as a reader and writer that I feel like I want to revisit his career’s influence one more time. He was just that important to what I aspired — and still aspire — to be. As my friend and collaborator Zaki Hasan said in his post on the subject, “the impact he had on my life, as a reader, a filmgoer, and a writer is hard to encapsulate.”   I discovered Bradbury pretty early, and he stuck¬†with me all my life. I’d read most of his work several times, and even 30 years after I first read it, some¬†of it just kills me every time. Dandelion Wine makes…
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Goodbye, Ray Bradbury

I’m not much for mourning celebrity deaths. I generally don’t care that you were in a few movies or TV shows, or that you wrote some catchy song I haven’t heard in six years. Such passings are sad, but they have little impact on my life. But Ray Bradbury, who passed away this morning at the age of 91, was more than a mere celebrity author to me. He was a tremendous influence on me both growing up as well as in later years when I began to pursue writing more seriously; a man whose work informed me, inspired me, and solidified my long clung-to dream of being a writer. Bradbury was a special kind of wordsmith. Unlike most modern authors, he rarely dabbled in…
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A very Wise interview on Geekdom

When Stephen Segal tapped me to take part in writing Geek Wisdom with his team of geeks, there really wasn’t any other answer but, “Yes.” After all, Stephen isn’t just a guy who was my editor on a previous book (Stuff Every Husband Should Know), he’s also a friend. Philosophically we come from very similar places, especially with regard to creativity, the human spirit, and our inner geekness. But better to let Stephen himself explain. In this interview with Wired, he lays out the spark that became the book, the philosophy we plunged into it with, and the great geekdom we left on the cutting room floor. I especially like this bit of insight: Whether in a religious or a scientific framework, knowledge and wisdom…
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