Sunday, March 29, 2015

THE CRIME OF OUR LIVES by Lawrence Block

© by Gerald So | | 7:00 A.M.

Published in ebook last week, The Crime of Our Lives is largely a collection of introductions Lawrence Block has written to other crime writers' work over his long career.

Like most people who read for pleasure, I'd bet, I usually skip introductions and get to the main content. I've also taken several writing workshops by choice, and my writing is better for them, but discussions of craft usually don't interest me. There's some appeal in knowing how a magic trick is done, but knowing doesn't mean you can do the trick with the same flair yourself. Very often, what works for one writer doesn't work for the rest.

In this case, though, when Block offered me an ebook of "T-COOL" to review, I jumped at it because I enjoy hearing Larry talk about writers and writing. After all those workshops, I found myself teaching freshman composition at Hofstra University, a most un-creative job that fortunately included the privilege to check books out of Hofstra libraries for semesters at a time. That was how I came across Block's writing manuals, which, more than any workshop, sustained the notion of spending my life writing.

With the same dry wit and way with words in The Crime of Our Lives, Block gives closeups of twenty-one writers' tricks and leaves the fun of reading them intact because he's a reader, too.

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