Archive for April, 2010
For a note about book reviews, click here.
Q: What do you get if you throw sci-fi, fantasy, history, and a smattering of theology together into a 300-page novel?
A: The Thorn by Daron Fraley.
When I first heard about The Thorn back in February, I was apprehensive about reading it because I worried that like many books with a religious theme, the theological ideas would overwhelm the plot, characters, and general storytelling. And though I’m fine with religious elements and characters in books, often they turn good novels and stories into sermons—something that I have a difficult time reading.
Thankfully The Thorn doesn’t fall into this trap. Though a religious idea is the starting point for the novel, Fraley does a good job of making the theology a subtle part of the story and does it in such a way that someone who doesn’t believe in the idea won’t be turned off by it.
The novel’s biggest strength is its descriptions of people and places. You can see the world of Gan, it’s towns and countryside as well as the people like you are watching a movie. In the descriptions you’ll also find a plethora of symbolism woven throughout. Each chapter was like going on your own little treasure hunt to see what symbols Fraley was hiding. The battle scenes were well done without being overly gruesome.
There are a few places where the narrative feels a bit forced in order for meet some of the theological aspects of the books and a few events that seemed a little too coincidental. But these are minor complaints for an otherwise enjoyable book.
Because The Thorn seamlessly blends several genres together it’s hard to classify let along say who I’d recommend it to. However, you should be able to read the first two or three chapters and get an idea of this book is something you’d enjoy. Fraley’s prose and descriptions are good enough that you should make it that far. You can read the first chapter of The Thorn here.
4 stars (out of 5) for The Thorn by Daron Fraley
April 28th, 2010
Having gone through the book publishing process twice, I can say nearly impossible to produce a book free of typos. Even with several editors and proofreaders in the mix, there are always one or two things that will get overlooked and make it into a book’s first edition. I’ve even found typos and other mistakes in novels from big name authors and publishing houses.
It’s not that writers, editors, and proofreaders or aren’t competent or don’t know what they’re doing. They’re usually word and grammar kings and queens. But they’re also human. (I’ve made my share of mistakes too.) As a result, there are always one or two errors like a typo or a comma splice that’s going to make it through the first edition. Generally the errors are small, don’t raise any eyebrows, and are quickly corrected in the next printing. That’s why I was surprised to read this weekend that a typo in a book actually made the news until, that is, I read what slipped past one proofreader.
An Australian publisher is reprinting 7,000 cookbooks over a recipe for pasta with “salt and freshly ground black people.”
Penguin Group Australia’s head of publishing, Bob Sessions, acknowledged the proofreader for the
Pasta Bible should have picked up the error, but called it nothing more than a “silly mistake.”
The “Pasta Bible” recipe for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto was supposed to call for black pepper.
“We’re mortified that this has become an issue of any kind and why anyone would be offended, we don’t know,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald for a story printed Saturday.
I agree that the typo was unintentional, but were I the book’s proofreader, I’d be embarrassed beyond belief that I didn’t catch that one.
April 19th, 2010
Writing in response to my Dating and Marriage: One Regret post David asks the following questions.
I’m truly glad things worked out for you.
I don’t know your story, other than your late wife shot herself to death when she was pregnant.
Personally, I could never marry someone in the kind of short time periods you talk about. And I wonder (and feel really uncomfortable saying this… but you have chosen to make your life public) how you maintain this opinion given what happened in your first relationship?
Doesn’t a long courtship give you the opportunity to see warning signs about how a person copes with challenges? I have been dating my girlfriend for a year and a half and I am learning what works and what doesn’t work with her, and then I have to think about whether I can cope with that effectively in the long term.
Some background on my relationship with my late wife: we grew up in the same neighborhood. I knew her for years before we started dating.
During the time we dated and there was no indication whatsoever that she was suicidal or would emotionally change once she became pregnant.
When we decided to have a child after two years of marriage there was no indication she’d go off the deep end and take her own life. All of the warning signs occurred after she became pregnant—and even then the warning signs weren’t always crystal clear. Extending out our courtship another month or another year wouldn’t have given me some vital piece of information that would have made me change my mind about marrying her.
If anything losing her taught me that I shouldn’t waste time dating or courting someone once I know I’ve found the right person. That’s why when I realized I could spend the rest of my life happily married to Marathon Girl (and that she felt the same way), there was no point in dating anymore. We’ve been happily married now for seven years.
Like all couples we’ve had good and bad moments in our relationship but I can say that an extra month or even an extra year of courting wouldn’t have changed our minds about each other.
I’m not saying you should rush into marriage, but at some point all the dating in the world isn’t going to give you any further insight into that person. Then you have to ask yourself if you’d be willing to experience all of life’s good and bad moments with that person and no one else. If you are, then what’s the point in dating for another two months or two years?
In my experience and those of my friends, extended courtships (1 year or longer) aren’t any more successful than those who married within months after meeting each other. If anything, those in long courtships stand to lose the most if the relationship doesn’t end in marriage because they invested more time in it. I personally believe if you date someone for a year and you still don’t know whether or not that person’s right for you, then the answer is “no” and it’s time to quit wasting each other’s time.
There are no guarantees in this life, David. Whether married or single, we’ll go through periods of joy and heartache, riches and poverty. People we love will sometimes make stupid choices. If I could go back in time, I’d still marry my late wife even if I knew how things would end. Furthermore, I have no qualms about my whirlwind courtship with Marathon Girl. Even if she was to be taken from me tomorrow, I have absolutely no regrets about getting down on my knee and asking her to be my wife and spending seven wonderful years with her. I refuse to live in fear of things that are out of my control.
We all have the ability to discern and judge for ourselves whether or not the person we’re dating is the one person we hope to spend the rest of our lives with. It’s not just learning how someone reacts to challenges that’s important because I guarantee life’s going to throw you curveballs at you that neither of you will anticipate. It’s about whether we love someone enough to hold their hand and take a leap of faith and experience life together as husband and wife.
The question for you, David, is whether or not you love this woman enough to take that step.
April 12th, 2010
The official release of The Third has been moved to June 1.
It will still arrive in bookstores sometime in May. Those who pre-order a copy will still get it before the bookstores do.
And the official book launch party has grown. Not only will Valor authors Paul Skousen and Gordon Ryan be releasing their books, but now Jenni James, author of the upcoming Northanger Alibi will join in the release festivities. With Jenni part of the festivities, this party’s bound to be memorable–in a good way.
More details on the book launch party coming soon. Until then mark your calendars for June 1. The party’s going to be a blast.
April 8th, 2010
The galleys are proofed. The publisher has them. The Third is going to press.
What am I going to do now?
I’m going to catch up on LOST.
Then tomorrow I start working full speed on my next book.
We’ll see how long my candle will burn.
April 1st, 2010