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April 12, 2012



I am not familir with those books you mentioned. But, guess what, writing a book is easy. Selling it is difficult. And authors are always at the mercy of the critics.


Just publish on Amazon. You don't even have to leave your computer to do that.

Henry "Hank" Chapin

We have numerous Boston's Pizzas in Honolulu. I never thought of them as being mysterious in any way. One is a mile from my house in Manoa. It is run by an Indian family. I was chit-chatting with them one day and I asked the woman on duty about India. "Oh, I'm not from India," she replied. "Never been there. Our family is from Fiji." Okay--live and learn, that's the way of the world.


Hank: Funny. I live in the sticks, for sure.


Sounds like the sort of thing I should read. Thanks for the review. And I agree about Jonathan Franzen. I think he writes well, but he is best in short pieces about his own life and experiences. I have enjoyed some of his articles in the New Yorker.


Watched the video. I think I might enjoy his books. I am not a big novel reader, sticking to non-fiction 99 percent of the time. But, he sounds like a socio-cultural writer of the common folks? Nice post -- barbara


Anne: I did like his earlier book, The Corrections, but I think Franzen has become a self involved sourpuss, and his writing shows it. I thought Freedom was going to be good. I read an excerpt from it in The New Yorker that seemed promising, but the novel was a disappointment.
Barbara: O'Nan's subjects are the left-behind, "downward mobile" white people who have been unable to adapt to postmodern America. They know who they are, but who they are doesn't cut it any more. He says in the clip that his home town of Pittsburgh has been on the downward path for years, but now the deterioration he describes is everywhere. He is able to write about all this without being dreary, and he is on the side of his characters, unlike the more bitter social critical novelists.

Henry "Hank" Chapin

Pittsburgh thoughts: {1} I was under the impression that Pittsburgh has had undergone many positive changes. But that may just refer to physically cleaning up the town from the soot-covered days of heavy industrialism. I've been through there and it was not dirty and filthy as it was supposed to have been before. Also, for what it's worth, Carnegie-Mellon University has a top theatre program. (2) August Wilson, the excellent black playwright, took Pittsburgh as the geographical heart of his plays. He had a brilliant approach: each play covers one decade of the 20th Century in the history of blacks in America. The result is ten powerful plays. What a concept! But deterioration is everywhere in those plays from Wilson's black perspective.


Hank: My grandfather grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Cornell in Ithaca. I've never been to Pittsburgh but did get to Ithaca for my daughter's wedding. It felt very old and chilly to me and rather mysterious. Like early American literature.
A friend of mine's son and daughter in law have moved to Pittsburgh from Portland and become urban pioneers. He is a carpenter and guitarist (I believe) and she is a singer-musician, and they are getting into media there. He is restoring the house they live in and (I assume) getting work in reconstruction of old places. Their son is appearing in local commercials and some sort of remake of Mr. Rogers' neighborhood, which, you will recall, was made in Pittsburgh.


@Hank: Fiji has a sizable Indian population, descendants of laborers brought there in the 1800s.

"Hank: Funny. I live in the sticks, for sure."

Do you mean your neighborhood or Hilo in general?


Brandon: We are out of the loop on a lot of things on the Big Island. But what we have here more than compensates for that lack.


Speaking as a lifelong Hiloan, I agree. The Big Island has, among other things, an abundance of cultural diversity, and many local businesses, so it's not the same as a similarly-sized town in the Deep South or the Plains.

What we need is better medical care and an improved mass transit system.

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