Four Books by Simon Winchester

The Irish Island Korea by Simon Winchester, published 1988 Before writing the masterful volumes Krakatoa, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and The Professor and the Madman, geologist-writer Simon Winchester generated a series of travel books. I read this book out of a curiosity to see where one of my favorite authors started … Continue reading Four Books by Simon Winchester

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English Major Confessions: Reading

I sat crouched over Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, so enveloped by the story that I could hear the sounds of the jungle. The story became real and visceral to me, so much so that to this day I'm still haunted by the images I read. I was in sixth grade and back then it took only … Continue reading English Major Confessions: Reading

The Youtube Effect

My mother handed me a book and told me it had been written by a local high school student. I was flabbergasted, impressed even. I come from a town of about nine thousand so someone getting a book published would be a pretty big deal--the town paper had even done a short writeup on him. … Continue reading The Youtube Effect

Free the Verse

In college I could often be found in the student union, sipping the black while writing poetry with a ball point pen. In the seven years since graduation, this has continued, only now I use my laptop, and more often than not, I’m writing fiction. But just a few days ago I got out a … Continue reading Free the Verse

Cussing in Creative Writing

Fairly recently, Tom Hanks dropped the F-bomb on Good Morning America and the bad word police shit their pants in response. It’s irritating that I’m from a country that has organizations devoted to monitoring television for profanity. But since I’m a writer who grew up in a culture where swearing is the eighth deadly sin, … Continue reading Cussing in Creative Writing

The Harry Potter Debate

My reading speed could easily be described as sloth-like. I lazily meander through each word and try to digest the sentence as if it were being spoken to me. I imagine the narrator’s intonation and cadence and, because of this, I’m not one to finish a book anywhere within the realm of “quickly.” In fact, … Continue reading The Harry Potter Debate

The Search for Meaning

I’m sitting on the patio of a recently opened indie café called, non-ironically, Hipster Coffee, in one of the few quiet parts of Busan. It’s sixty-eight degrees tonight with just few gnats flitting about. My latte sits next to my MacBook Pro (hipster, eh?), and I’ve got these awesome little noise canceling ear buds playing … Continue reading The Search for Meaning

Taming the Prose

I teach at a middle school in Korea and we’re quickly approaching midterm exams. Those three days of testing, while strenuous to my students, are quite relaxing to me since I have nothing but free time on my hands. In preparation for those days, I’ve been spending my office hours outlining the revisions I plan … Continue reading Taming the Prose

Dirty Little Secret

Working at Borders, I often had to censor my true opinions regarding certain books. Well, I suppose it wasn't censoring so much as it was tolerating enthusiasm for what I felt was a novel worthy of the trash can. Obvious titles come to mind, such as Twilight, the Anita Blake series, and pretty much everything in … Continue reading Dirty Little Secret

Let Them Read Books

It’s a hot summer, and here in Korea, air conditioning is difficult to come by. I’ve got a small apartment, but my window unit can barely cool the living room. That means my kitchen and bedroom feel similar to what I can only imagine are the bowels of Satan after chili cook-off season. Because of … Continue reading Let Them Read Books