As a first-time reader of this title, Paperback Parade #85 went beyond a pleasant surprise. Editor Gary LoviPaperback Parade #85 edited by Gary Lovisi
As a first-time reader of this title, Paperback Parade #85 went beyond a pleasant surprise. Editor Gary Lovisi has me hooked. I want another look inside the gaudy covers (displayed in full color for the first time in this edition’s interior pages), of the dark tales this periodical examines. Subscription fare enroute.
As a relative newcomer to PBO crime fiction, every article in PP #85 is part discovery, part education. Loved the mix of old and new pulp coverage in Lovisi’s introduction, his conversational tone, and the extensive collection of cover artwork—with select iterations!
J. Calvitt Clarke III’s report on his grandfather’s novels is the issue’s lead and highlight. His inside access and insights into Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke’s work provides a compelling profile of the writer’s career and how even genre novels are shaped and influenced by an individual’s beliefs and the culture of their era. If Clarke III wasn’t a direct relation, one might question that the grandfather, writing his later work as Richard Grant, was even the same person, the contrast of styles between his early romance work and his later hardboiled novels is so stark. A fascinating article, with full bibliography.
Jon D. Swartz’ tribute pages dedicated to the memory of Neal Barrett, Jr. provide readers a glimpse into the lifetime of the science fiction and fantasy writer, profusely illustrated with paperback book covers.
The two-page spread, Cover Swipe, depicts an original 1960’s Jack the Ripper book cover, painter unknown, and a Spanish-language movie poster with a less-polished “swipe” of the original.
Dale Brumfeld’s Poetic Injustice profiles the life and work of beat poet Rik Davis. A true outsider, Davis pursued his serious poetry writing, under his own name, while often supporting himself writing porn novels (like Passion’s Greatest Trap shown on the cover) as Jack Vast. His unsolved murder in the bathroom of the B&T Adult Bookstore where he worked in Richmond, Virginia ended his life tragically at age 43.
Jim Fitzpatrick reports on Guy Endore’s The Werewolf of Paris, considered to be one of the greatest horror novels ever written, and the basis for the 1961 movie with Oliver Reed, The Curse of the Werewolf.
The list of sources cited for Ed Lynskey’s profile of writer Bruno Fischer is nearly half the length of the article itself, so I’ll conclude we may never know much about Fischer outside his over two dozen novels written from 1939 to 1974. Nevertheless, he’s considered one of the great crime fiction writers of his era and overdue for a revival of interest in his work.
The issue concludes with fond recollections of fiction favorites in Hard-Boiled Paradise, by Gary Lovisi. A friendly recount of lesser-known works that deserve a second look, that builds with each successive story, starting with One is a Lonely Number by Bruce Elliott and ending with Sin Pit by Paul S. Meskil.
Visit Gryphon Books online for order information and select back issues of Paperback Parade. ...more
Disclaimer: This review includes summaries of conclusions and advice which are presented in greater depthHow to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric
Disclaimer: This review includes summaries of conclusions and advice which are presented in greater depth and detail in the book itself.
Today’s workers want more than an opportunity to earn a decent wage. They want work that’s personally fulfilling. In years gone by, landing work of any kind was a major challenge due to barriers of gender, race, culture, educational access and exploitation by job creators. Parts of the world have made some improvements in all of these areas. It’s not that finding fulfilling work is easy now, but it’s fair to say that it’s easier than it once was.
Krznaric categorizes the elements of work that make it meaningful into two types: extrinsic and intrinsic. The extrinsic are the means to an end: the salary and status (authority) of your position (title). The intrinsic are: feeling your work matters, that it makes a difference; doing something you enjoy, following your passions; and using your natural talents or abilities.
Happiness or fulfillment isn’t a formula, it’s more like a balancing act, with the goal of finding work that offers the most appealing balance of the factors involved. And to complicate matters, they change. What’s a good balance at twenty, is very likely different at forty, or sixty.
Another consideration is specialization. When you find something you truly love, are you be better off honing in on it, or maintaining a more generalist approach to keep future options open? Krznaric classifies it as pursuit of high-achievement (specialist) or a wide-achievement (generalist).
If, as the research Krznaric cites, half of Americans find their jobs unfulfilling, why don’t more people move on? Because the adage about the devil you know, is laced in truth. As a conglomerate, we’re risk averse. Research shows we hate losing twice as much as we love winning. So the risk of switching jobs gives us serious pause.
Traditionally, standardized tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), advise us to analyze our personalities to narrow our choices, then train to prepare ourselves and to pursue a certain career. This approach is to reflect, then act. But Krznaric maintains there’s no research that correlates MBTI results with job satisfaction, despite its wide-spread use.
He does however, offer three exercises to help create a list of potential jobs worthy of further investigation. His exercises are based on a combination of your own past experiences; and your passions, talents and core values. That’s the extent of the value of the “reflect, then act” approach.
Next, Krznaric suggests a far better approach is to act, then reflect. Take your list of potential jobs, and use one of three methods to learn more about each occupation. Krznaric gives these techniques his own labels, but I’ll paraphrase them with their more common versions: job shadowing, moonlighting and fact finding interviews. Each technique has its own strengths. For example, if you think you’d like teaching, you can keep your current job and moonlight (act) by teaching a session or course through an organization. Afterward, reflect on the experience to decide if it was fulfilling.
Yet another element of job satisfaction is called flow. A term Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined, and wrote about in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. “A flow experience is one in which we are completely and unselfconsciously absorbed in . . .” Like an athlete “in the zone.”
The final ingredient of fulfillment is freedom. If you often feel overburdened by your job; arriving earlier, leaving later than you’d like; answering emails from home, late into the evening; you may feel more wage-slave than autonomous.
Besides risk aversion, there is often another factor standing between us and fulfillment: a puritan work ethic. Many of us feel a powerful sense of guilt if we’re not working longer and harder than those around us.
So where is the balance? Krznaric suggests it resides within us. In other words, we have to find our own balance. This might mean you can have it all, but not all at once. Once people achieve a minimum threshold of financial independence, there’s little change in their degree of happiness, as their income rises. That’s because their standard of living adjusts to align with their income. So if the wage-driven existence isn’t producing a happier, more fulfilling result, Krznaric suggests we may want to reset the balance. Strive less for wages, adjust your standard of living accordingly, and enjoy work/life more.
The final chapter reframes the job search. Instead of looking for the perfect job offered by an employer, consider growing a vocation of your own. The idea is that a vocation often emerges from your life. According to Csikszentmihalyi, what people require “is a goal that, like a magnetic field, attracts their psychic energy, a goal upon which all lesser goals depend.” A calling, a mission, a concrete assignment.
“How? Simply by devoting ourselves to work that gives us deep fulfillment through meaning, flow and freedom. . . . Over time, a tangible and inspiring goal may quietly germinate, grow larger, and eventually flower into life.”
Krznaric’s final advice is not to allow risk aversion, a puritan work ethic or something else, to curtail your desire for change. Take action now. Make finding a fulfilling work/life your goal. Whether you pursue it through job shadowing, moonlighting, fact finding interviews, or simply take the plunge and try a series of somethings new—seize the day.
The book is a worthwhile read, and I think if one follows its recommendations they will see some benefit. But also I think luck is part of the equation. And return-on-effort is another factor suggested, but never thoroughly addressed. The book’s title is compelling, chosen to sell it. The use of the word “fulfillment” reads as if it’s a destination the book will show you how to reach. But what it delivers is a definition of fulfillment as a journey, with tips intended to make yours better....more
Home (pronounced 'Hume') was a renown medium who lived from 1833 to 1886. His aunt and uncle brought him fIncidents In My Life by Daniel Dunglas Home
Home (pronounced 'Hume') was a renown medium who lived from 1833 to 1886. His aunt and uncle brought him from Scotland to the United States when he was thirteen. Incidents In My Life was written in the mid-1800s. This edition, is a reprint of scanned pages from the fifth edition of the book, printed in 1864 by A.J. Davis & Co. New York.
The book traces Home's travels from the U.S. to Europe to Russia. Much of the content is repetitious and written in a formal style that requires extra effort to read. To be honest, it's a slog. However, if you're interested in first hand recollections of seances, it's worth your perseverance. You can preview it on Google Books, and reading an excerpt will likely provide as much value as wading through the entire text.
Hume's seances usually consisted of several phenomena. Levitation was common. Often a table rose six to a dozen inches off the floor. Sometimes Home himself was lifted by no visible means. On occasion, all the way to the ceiling, which he would mark with a pencil to later prove it actually happened.
Often a bell was rung by the hands of a spirit, or more commonly a (reportedly) beautiful melody was played on the accordion, Home or a participant, holding the instrument by one end, while spirit hands played it.
Rapping sounds were always described and used as a form of communication. When the alphabet "was called," the raps would indicate letters and messages would be spelled out by the spirit, addressed to their loved ones.
At times ghostly fingers and hands could be seen. Sometimes even arms, but seldom is a full figure referenced. Sometimes the hands appeared beneath handkerchiefs or napkins. Other times they could be seen directly. They tugged at and stroked seance participants, but quickly faded if any of the living tried to return the contact.
Home achieved fame during his lifetime but was also the target of ridicule and skepticism. He spends a great deal of the book offering proof of the spirit world and enlisting the aid of his fellow believers to offer their own accounts of the phenomena they witnessed first hand. However, he protects their identities (from ridicule) and refers to them only by broad description and initials, which of course lessens their credibility.
Although Home's critics denounced his claims of the sprit world as blasphemous, he offered the manifestations he evoked as proof of God and the immortality of man....more
The Big Book of Noir edited by Ed Gorman, Lee Server and Martin H. Greenberg
This big collection of short articles, memoirs and interviews makes an excThe Big Book of Noir edited by Ed Gorman, Lee Server and Martin H. Greenberg
This big collection of short articles, memoirs and interviews makes an excellent reference volume for the bookshelf or a terrific read straight through. Its bulk is split between film and fiction. The film coverage centers on directors, but it's sprinkled with enough material on screenwriters and actors to keep the essays varied and fresh. Subjects include Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak, Marc Lawrence, Daniel Mainwaring, Abraham Polonsky, Phil Karlson, A. I. Bezzerides, Orson Welles, John Huston, Leigh Brackett, William Faulkner, and others. It's a rich resource, uncovering hidden noir treasures and revealing new insights on classics.
The fiction section is primarily focused on the noir of past decades. When it does devote a few pages to the contemporary scene, the cut-off is the late 90s (the volume was published in 1998). It is a golden harvest of paperback original era authors and publishers. The influence of Hammett and Chandler ever looms in the shadows, but the bright pool of the lamppost illuminates the work, and sometimes the lives, of Cornell Woolrich, Frederic Brown, Gil Brewer, Harry Whittington, John D. MacDonald, Arnold Hano, Mickey Spillane, Ross Macdonald, Charles Williams, Peter Rabe, Donald Westlake, Chester Himes, Donald Hamilton, Patricia Highsmith, Charles Willeford, Lawrence Block, and publishers Lion, Dell, Gold Medal, Lancer, Série Noire, etc.
Ron Goulart ably handles the lone essay on noir in comic books, as the big book winds up with four fascinating treatments on radio's dark gold and television's adoption of noir's torch, left languishing by that time at the movies.
The writers who wrote all the material for The Big Book of Noir is another long list of experts in the genre. I'll be treasuring and revisiting this one for a long time. Five Stars. ...more