My Writers: Carl Hiaasen

I lived in Florida for six years. Before I got there, Carl Hiaasen acquainted me with the haphazard charms of the Sunshine State. More precisely, he sketched out just how much craziness resided on that over-baked peninsula. As was the case with many of the authors whose wares I first sampled in the nineteen-nineties, I arrived at Hiaasen because of the movies. With some regularity, I bought novels that the entertainment press informed me were being adapted in high-profile films. I liked having the comparison at the ready when it came time to deliver my movie review, even if most … Continue reading My Writers: Carl Hiaasen

My Writers: Charles P. Pierce

Given the endless procession of freshly minted atrocities on the front pages of credible newspapers, it’s tempting to invoke the apocryphal Chinese curse that bestowed the condemnation of “interesting times.” But we’ve crossed well beyond that battle-scarred region. We’ve moved on to a swirling abomination that can only be thought of as “exhausting times.” Being engaged in the current political stories that flash and pop with the frantic urgency of an overloading pinball machine is an invitation to madness, or at least a version of unwanted enlightening that is particularly soul-crushing. None of these examples of egregious abdication of sensible … Continue reading My Writers: Charles P. Pierce

My Writers: Ann Beattie

I have a foolish aversion to short stories. I’m perplexed about its origins. It may stem from the fact that my time chipping away at an undergraduate English major forever associated the form with the toil of assigned text. (I swear “Hills Like White Elephants” was on the syllabus of every third class I took.) I also worry that I have some strange, snobbish guilt that triggers a lurking, unshakable sense that I should be working on a weightier novel when I’m reading a short story, under the so-many-books-so-little-time provision of life as a consumer of written fiction. Ann Beattie … Continue reading My Writers: Ann Beattie

My Writers: Chris Claremont

Though all of my instincts — meticulously steeped in self-consciousness and boomeranging snobbery — prod me to reserve this particular feature for scribes who convey a veneer of intellectual credibility to my reading selections, there are times when I am compelled that many of the most formative writers in my life primarily tapped out words for comic book adventures. When I was rolling my eyes at whatever English class drudgery I was assigned (my school wasn’t astute enough to realize that maybe teenagers would respond positively to the likes of Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger), I was rushing eagerly back the … Continue reading My Writers: Chris Claremont

My Writers: Jeffrey Toobin

There are a few broad style of writing that regularly face criticism, not without justification. Academic writing is one of them. Another is so ruthlessly dismissed as impenetrable that it has its own description: legalese. It’s understandable. The fundamental nature of the writing makes it dense, thorough, and bloodless. But within the occupational impetus for the writing style lies a key to great nonfiction writing, at least for those authors who chose to properly leverage it. Legal writing shares some genes with the best of journalism. It presents facts and analyze them, then briskly, smartly, capably makes a case. The … Continue reading My Writers: Jeffrey Toobin