Sean O'Hara's Reviews > Afterthoughts

Afterthoughts by Lawrence Block
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's review
Nov 28, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: biography
Read from November 28 to December 01, 2011

This turned out to be one of the more expensive books I've ever read even though I only paid forty cents for it. The volume collects all the afterwords Block has written for his work over the years, assembling them into something vaguely like a memoir.

Now I'm the sort of person who loves to read afterwords and forewords (and introductions, and acknowledgments -- hell, I even skim the copyright page); I get annoyed when I see one of my favorite books has been reissued with a new afterword. So this book is right up my alley. But it has one major drawback -- after reading each piece, I want to buy the book it's about. Most of Block's ebooks were on sale on the day I bought this, so I was able to indulge the urge with the first few sections without breaking the bank (I ended up spending $40 for what would've been upwards of $200 at full price).

The nature of the book means that there's quite a bit of repetition -- after a while you'll be saying, "Yes, Larry, I know you went to Wisconsin in the mid-60s to work for a numismatic magazine" -- and if you try to read it in one sitting you'll end up skimming some pieces because they repeat, with minor variations, the same story about how Block chose a particular pseudonym. But on the whole it's a fun read, particularly the sections about older books, back in the day when even legitimate publishers and agents conducted business in ways that would have Writer Beware sending out emergency bulletins. My favorite stories involve Block writing fake psychological case studies as though he were a real doctor with real patients. I can't help but feel I should take notes about such schemes and churn out a quick ebook. Maybe a voters' guide full of made up facts about the presidential candidates and their positions.

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