Friday, September 30, 2011

My Guest Spot on Bookrageous

Quick note to let you all know that The Ape made a special guest appearance on the Bookrageous podcast this week. Check it out here.

For the incurably bookish, this is a bi-weekly must listen. Basically, the three regular hosts, Jenn, Josh, and Rebecca talk about what they're reading in the first section and then take on a broader topic in the second session.

I talked about John Warner's The Funny Man, Lily Tuck's I Married You For Happiness, Stanley Fish's How to Write a Sentence, and Walter Ong's Orality and Literacy. I also spontaneously invented the "wonk-o-meter."

The second section of the show was about Banned Books Week, and in vintage Bookrageous fashion, a potentially plodding topic turned out to be damn near spritely.

I had a great time. Even if you don't listen to my sonorous baritone (heh) in this episode, you should give this podcast space on your precious iOS device.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Dictionary of Fictional Techniques: The Discrete Appositive

The Dictionary of Fictional Techniques is a running feature here at the Ape in which I observe, name, and discuss heretofore uncategorized (at least to my knowledge) literary devices. For a list of previous entries, please scroll to the bottom of this post.

The Discrete Appositive:
An appositive that exists as a sentence fragment immediately after its antecedent noun

"Fair-haired, solidly built and not tall--not taller than Nina--his eyes are light blue, like a dog's. A husky."
                          -I Married You For Happiness by Lily Tuck

The discrete appositive here is "a husky." I'm interested in how authors represent thought (especially in close third-person narration). Here Tuck uses this little device to mimic a slight cognitive pause. The result is that we can feel the character thinking, trying to remember the particular canine eyes.


All entries in The Dictionary of Fictional Techniques are original to The Reading Ape, unless otherwise cited. (This means that they aren’t ‘real words,’ so don’t use them in your freshman comp essay)

Previous entries in The Dictionary of Fictional Techniques:


Buy books mentioned in this post (or anything else, actually) using the below links, and The Reading Ape gets a small referral fee to defray our nominal operating costs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Please, for the love of books, learn from us."

Today, I'm guest posting for Book Blogger Appreciation week with a piece called "What Professional Critics Can Learn from Book Bloggers." Check it out. Cheers, -TRA

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Forum: Lovably Bad Books

Last week, I tore through Ernest Cline's futurist 1980s nostalgia romp, Ready Player One. I knew from the first page that a) it wasn't a great book and b) that I was going to absolutely love it.

The experienced reader/critic part of my brain saw the flaws: wooden dialogue, unbelievable coincidence,  narrative cliche, and a variety of other narrative black-eyes.

But then another part of my brain took over: the remnant of my adolescent, Mario Brothers-playing, Darth Vader-loving, coin-op obsessing, X-Men reading, Middle Earth-daydreaming self took over. My hard-won critical eye was completely helpless.

And this has happened before (Harry Potter and the early Tom Clancy novels come to mind): for some reason, certain kinds of novels have the ability to short-circuit the taste and discernment I have been cultivating for the last couple of decades. And it feel sooooooo good.

Has this ever happened to you? With what books? And what was it that caught you? __________________

Buy books mentioned in this post (or anything else, actually) using the below links, and The Reading Ape gets a small referral fee to defray our nominal operating costs.