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Newbies Corner > Hello from Scottish Highlands

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John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Hi,
Though I'm Scottish, my taste in books (and films) has always tended to be pretty international...from Ray Bradbury and John Steinbeck...to Milan Kundera, Knut Hamsun, Mikhail Bulgakov...
Though enjoy Scottish writers like Alan Sharp, Alexander Trocchi too.
Good to find this group.
All best,
John


message 2: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (TNBBC) | 8418 comments Mod
Hi John, glad you found us.

Eclectic reading is always a good thing!


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Hi Lori, thanks!


Irma Fritz What a joy to meet a reader who appreciates literary fiction. Welcome!


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Hi Irma, thank-you!
I see on your profile you are a fan of Dostoyevsky. THE IDIOT, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, and NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND are 3 of my favourite novels. I'm keeping his other books "for later"...or "for a rainy day"...


Irma Fritz John, I cut my baby teeth on the Russian writers. I was (barely) born in Ukraine. In my youth I thought it romantic to count myself Russian. Of course, having met many Russian people since I found out that I'm not. I haven't re-read Dostoyevsky lately, but need to. At least the Grand Inquisitor chapter from The Brothers. I recently went back to re-read Tolstoy. Those two writers are so different: the mystic vs the poet. This time Anna Karenina was an eye-opener. The novel is much more about Levin (read Tolstoy!) than about Anna. Fascinating thoughts on religion and society! And then with Tolstoy it's always renewal from the earth, feeding his spirit by working the land! But of course it's about so much more. OMG! How did he stuff all those thoughts into 1 book no matter how BIG it is?!!!!


Beth | 135 comments Welcome, John! My last name comes from Scotland, via my husband's family. We've visited once and would like to do so again.


Betsy (mistymtladi) | 507 comments Irma wrote: "John, I cut my baby teeth on the Russian writers. I was (barely) born in Ukraine. In my youth I thought it romantic to count myself Russian. Of course, having met many Russian people since I found ..."

Bet you'd know... Which one wrote the quote about happy families being happy in the same way,but unhappy families were unique in their own misery. Okay, that's the idea of the quote anyway,and its' one of these authors who wrote it? Do you know?


Irma Fritz Hey Betsy, I have a sis-in-law with your name. Like Irma, Betsy is one of those good old-fashioned names you don't hear that often anymore. Love it!
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way is Tolstoy's opening line from Anna Karenina. Good to "talk" to you!


Betsy (mistymtladi) | 507 comments Betsy Palmer was a TV star who was on I've Got A Secret (guess the contestants'occupation) so alot of kids got named that in the early 50's. In my 60 odd years, I've known maybe 3 who had my name,so say hi to your sister-in-law for me!


Irma Fritz Will do, Betsy, and since she's about the same age I'll have to ask her if this is how she got her name. lol!!!!!


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Irma wrote: "John, I cut my baby teeth on the Russian writers. I was (barely) born in Ukraine. In my youth I thought it romantic to count myself Russian. Of course, having met many Russian people since I found ..."

Hi Irma,
I seem to be saving Tolstoy up for later on too...I have ANNA KARENINA in paperback but have never read past paragraph one. One of my favourite novelists is Milan Kundera (though again, that's a bit oddd as I read 7 of his novels but have not read anything by him since 1994)...I was always conscious though, that Kundera regarded Anna Karenina as the greatest novel ever written...so I am "saving it for later". I did read one-third of WAR AND PEACE about 15 years ago, and was enjoying it, but then stopped for no good reason...and never went back to it since.
I had an email this year, from someone I'd not seen in 30 years, who described their visit to see Tolstoy's house...then again this year, from an unrelated friend, another message describing their visit to Mikhail Bulgakov's house in Moscow.
THE MASTER AND MARGARITA is one of my favourite novels...along with Knut Hsmsun's 1890 novel, HUNGER...and John Kennedy Toole#'s A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES...and Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa'a THE LEOPARD.
I saw Akira Kurosawa's film 1952 Japanese film, IKIRU recently...but only when I looked it up did I find out it had been based on Tolstoy's THE DEATH OF IVAN ILLYICH.
The other strange thing I learned about Kurosawa that day is that his brother, Heigo was a successful benshi, silent film, narrator, in the 1920s, in Tokyo theatres showing foreign films.
But then when talking films came in Heigo lost all his work and committed suicide, while Akira Kurosawa his brother went on to become Japan's greatest ever talking film director.


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Beth wrote: "Welcome, John! My last name comes from Scotland, via my husband's family. We've visited once and would like to do so again."

Hi Beth, thanks!


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Irma wrote: "Hey Betsy, I have a sis-in-law with your name. Like Irma, Betsy is one of those good old-fashioned names you don't hear that often anymore. Love it!
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy fami..."


"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way is Tolstoy's opening line from Anna Karenina."

Ah, perhaps Kundera was influenced by this when he stated in one of his novels that it is only the individual's suffering that makes them unique.

I can't remember in which novel he said this, perhaps IMMORTALITY, as it also described the universality of gestures, but I;m not sure...too long ago now!


Irma Fritz John, this is fun, exchanging book thoughts! I read Confederacy in college. Of Kundera's writing I've only read The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Loved it & need to read The Master...& other books you recommend. I put your list in my TBR pile. Thank you!
Last Thursday I had the great pleasure of meeting a writer I've admired much for some time. Joseph Kanon is a writer in the style of Graham Greene. I think I embarrassed him by telling him again & again how I love his writing. But you miss so many chances in life to give people their due. I always meant to write to Graham Greene, especially after I had visited Antibe where he used to keep a flat. But he died and I missed my chance! Kanon writes thriller/spy novels of post WWII era. It's not my genre, but to me he's just a beautiful wordsmith. When I read Alibi, his story about post WWII Venice, I was simply struck with how he puts you into a scene with just a few words and how he can evoke an atmosphere (the fog, the danger, the melancholy)with such ease. Even in his first book, Los Alamos (which has its faults) you can't help but be drawn in by his words. So I'm looking forward to reading the new one,Istanbul Passage. And also those you recommended.
On the topic of books started and never completed. Mine is Ulysses by James Joyce. Every summer I think I'll take it on as my summer reading project, and while I love it, I can't really get past the density of those sentences. So here is another summer and another opportunity! We'll see.
Then I just finished my own new WIP, a humorous story about predatory lending. Sounds like an oxymoron & it is a very differnt piece of writing for me. I'm looking for an agent for this one so wish me luck! Are you working on something? It's good to talk to you & all on this site!!


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Thanks Irma, I will look into Joseph Kanon's work.
Graham Greene has influenced me more, I think, than any other writer, but it is purely a technical influence, to do with method, rather than subject matter or style.
I became conscious that Greene, Hemingway, and Robert Louis Stevenson, shared a common method, to an extent, though their styles and subject matters are so different...so then I made some researches myself into this area of method...which all sounds very cryptic, but in practise it seemed to bear some fruit.
I've never yet gotten past the first couple of pages of ULYSSES...another one for the "rainy day"...
I enjoyed Joyce's story collection, DUBLINERS, though, particularly THE DEAD...(which also made an interesting John Huston film).
Well done on finishing the new book and good luck with the hunt for an agent! (though perhaps in the ebook age we don't always need them?)
Yes, I'm getting a new ebook, a story collection, ready just now,a 200-page collection of 10 stories, one of them was previously published by Picador in a paperback anthology sold in most countries of the world (Muriel Spark who did THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, Fay Weldon, David Mitchell, were in the anthology too...they must have let me in just to add some extra pages for ballast!). I'm on my 2nd literary agent now, he's looking for film producers for my 5th novel which is currently out as ebook. I'm trying to finish my 6th novel, maybe by next year, which then goes out to the agent who will send it round the London publishers...and in meantime I have 4 other novels completed (2 of which were with my first literary agent for 18 months or so) but which I would like to adjust and adapt a little bit before putting them out as kindle ebooks also...
So, like you, I'm busy at all this...I like the way it all is really...when I think of the writers like Bulgakov, John Kennedy Toole, Lampedusa who did The Leopard...or film-makers like Orson Welles...some of them never published in their lifetime...others getting some success initially, only to have it all taken back again later (like Melville after MOBY DICK)...epublishing would have given all those souls a chance to find an outlet for their work even when the tide of Fortune turned against them.


Irma Fritz John,
I read some of The Survival of Thomas Ford. Jimmy reminds me difinitely of Pinkie in Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. Sociopaths scare me and I couldn't read any more, but you certainly have a powerful story here. It's great to have such an accomplished author to exchange thoughts with! While I've had some success on Amazon with my novel Irretrievably Broken, I have been disappointed that it has not caught on on the uk amazon site. Do you find it harder to break into the U.S. market and get reviews from U.S. readers?


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Thanks for having a look, Irma!
Yes, Jimmy and Pinkie do have a few things in common, it's a comparison I've thought of before. I've never read the novel of Brighton Rock though, only seen the film with Richard Attenborough as "Pinkie"...(don't worry, Jimmy gets his come-uppance in the end,the very forces of Nature are against him, not to mention his girlfriend, Lorna, the hospital cleaner...)
I think about one-third of my readers are in the US...I feel a little connected to the US as the friend who helped me with formatting for ebook is in Pittsburgh, and she has definitely helped find some US readers too...
19 years ago I spent a summer working my way from New York to Los Angeles too (still remember labouring in OKlahoma sun carrying metal pipes until passing out...or in Ohio, Cedar Point Amusement Park, working in those games where people try to get a hoop over a fur dog etc to win a prize!)
I think it's KDP Select, and free promotions that got me most of the American readers though...and the reviews on Amazon US are among the best and most thoughtful I have for the book.
Not that KDP Select free promos work as well as they used to (only 3 months ago)
If you want to try to get more UK readers, you should become a member of kuforum.co.uk......and the Amazon UK Kindle Group here on Goodreads...apart from Twitter, those are really the only places I promote my work in the UK...you'll find other authors from all over world there too, it's not just for UK authors...but it's where you'll find UK readers!
I read the start of Irretrievably Broken before you started Thomas Ford...I liked it, I enjoyed the fusion of German and US culture...which is your unique viewpoint of course...fascinating that you did PR in Hollywood too (I passed through there on a bus once, but was too tired to care much when I saw those letters on the hillside!)
I love films as much as books...Kubrick...Eric Rohmer...usually stuff made before 1980...


Irma Fritz John, been taking some time off and am just now catching up. Thanks for suggestions about UK promos. I love the movies too! Recently saw & enjoyed My Way, the story of two marathon runners, one Japanese, one Korean. They meet as kids, and later again during war time as bitter rivals, becoming friends in the end. Oh, but what an ending!! What have you seen lately? GTG - dinner!


John Logan (JohnAALogan) | 76 comments Hi Irma, it's mostly old films I watch. I like French films like Rivette's 1970s one, Celine and Julie go Boating...or Rohmer's 1980s film, The Green Ray.
Barry Lyndon by Kubrick, another favourite.
Liked The Twilight Samurai, which is only about 8 years old.....modern for me!


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