Tag Archives: Dutton

Profanity Ruins Buck’s Informative Treatise*

I am not frequently offended by profanity.  I don’t use it much, and there are times and places that it is quite inappropriate, but I don’t melt when I hear it.

So, when I tell you that profanity ruined Joe Buck’s best-seller, it is not because I am JoeBuckPictureupset from any moral or ethical standpoint.  I am simply turned-off.

Actually, I am relying on the same principle that I teach about speakers who use foul language.  I don’t really care about the language.  What I care about is that it distracts the audience from the focus of the message, where large numbers of people will simply stop listening, and focus on those words, think about what was said, react emotionally in some way, and so forth.

If that happens during a presentation, you can simply substitute “reader” for “audience,” and you have the same effect in a book. 

JoeBuckBookCoverThat is the problem with Lucky Bastard:  My life, my Dad, and the things I’m not allowed to say on TV (New York:  Dutton, 2016).  In its pages, you will see just about every possible streetwise cuss word.  Fortunately, many of them are in footnotes, but if you are one of the few people who read such things, you will see the words.

This is most unfortunate.  Buck fills the book with loving memories of his famous father, Jack, who called St. Louis Cardinals baseball on KMOX, and NFL Monday Night Football on CBS radio, for many years.  The picture below features both of them.  He also talks about his life with his two daughters, his struggles with his first marriage, and great insight into the way he works at FOX.  The story about how he climbed to FOX’s # 1 football and baseball broadcasting teams is particularly insightful.  I am surprised that editors at the publisher did not intervene to any greater JoeandJackBuckPictureextent.

I would like to recommend this book to you.  It’s got some great content.  I learned a lot.  But, when there is this much potential distraction due to the unnecessary inclusion of profanity, I just can’t do it.  What a shame.

* – the book is a treatise because it is systematic, careful, and thoughtful – as the dictionary requires

Coben’s “The Stranger” is Very Strange – and Not Very Good

The Stranger Book CoverI just finished Harlan Coben‘s newest novel, The Stranger (Dutton, 2015).

I wish I were more enthusiastic.  Always a master mystery storyteller, I have always greatly anticipated the release of each of his books.  As always, this book hit the fiction best-seller lists, but quickly dropped out.  Today, it stands as the 75th best-selling overall book on the Amazon.com list.

If you don’t know anything about him, I found this biographical sketch on Goodreads.com:  “With over 60 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last seven consecutive novels, HarlanCobenPictureMISSING YOU, SIX YEARS, STAY CLOSE, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe. Coben is the winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – and he has received an eclectic variety of honors from all over the world. His novel TELL NO ONE has been turned into a hit French film of the same name. His essays and columns have appeared in many top publications. Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.”

The story is set in the internet-based world of anonymity, involving a central character (“the stranger”) whom you may not be able to decide is doing right or doing wrong.  Of course, when two murders are involved, your decision may not be that hard to make.  The story is highly domestic, with lots of teenage sports, microwaved dinners, and dull family dialogue that slows the book down throughout.  And, the ending of the book is not only predictable, but very disappointing.  Even I am not so sour to spoil it for you.  But, write me if you were surprised.

Perhaps authors such as Coben are just writing too fast in order to satisfy publishing demands to get into the marketplace.  This one is simply not well-crafted, well-written, or even very suspenseful.  I don’t think I would label this even as a mystery.  Actually, I’m not sure what it is.

Just to be certain that I was not out of line, I checked out consumer reviews on Amazon.com.  I read a few highlights from true Coben fans, who would love his book no matter what it did.  And, I read many more who felt the same way that I did.  In fact, some had the same complaints that I had.

I won’t give up on him.  I will buy his next book.  But, I hope it is awhile until it hits the stores.  Next time, I hope he takes his time, lets the story cool, and gets back to greatness.



Follett’s Century Trilogy is Wonderful Reading

I feel I really accomplished something!  I finished the third volume in Ken Follett’s Century trilogy.

These were WONDERFUL books, tracing five families through three generations, beginning in Europe and ending in America.

Why an accomplishment you ask?  Book  1- FALL OF GIANTS (960 pages), Book 2 – WINTER OF THE WORLD (928 pages), and Book 3 – EDGE OF ETERNITY (1120 pages).   All these were published by Dutton in the UK, and  distributed through Penguin Books in America.

These are fast-paced books, with terrific dialogue, action, drama, fear, character development, sex, and everything else you can think of.  You can buy the entire set at one price.

I wish everyone could read these!

Ken Follett PictureFollett Book Covers