Readersforum's Blog

September 5, 2013

10 Essential Elmore Leonard Novels: A Eulogy



Column by Ryan Peverly

I remember the first time I came across the name Elmore Leonard.

It wasn’t on the cover of one of his forty-five novels, nor was it in the credits of one of the umpteen feature films that have been adapted from his work. It was on some shoddy internet forum I frequented as a teenager.

People shared short stories with each other on this forum. Some fiction, some creative nonfiction, all just really, really shitty. These stories had exclamation points in every paragraph. These stories had words like “exclaimed” and “opined” as tags for dialogue, and adverbs like “loudly” and “proudly” modifying those tags.

Somewhere in this gigantic clusterfuck of shameful writing, someone whose snarky username has long been forgotten commented on one of these stories. The reply, the verbatim also long forgotten, said something about Elmore Leonard thinking that exclamation points were shit, anything other than “said” as a dialogue tag was shit, adverbs to modify those tags were shit, and that if he were there, on the forum, Elmore Leonard would tell the author to go fuck himself or herself.

I don’t know if Elmore Leonard would have said that. I like to think he would have, but he seemed like a kind, encouraging, stand-up dude. He really did hate exclamation points and anything other than “said” as a dialogue tag and any adverbs modifying those tags, though. That part was damn true, and that’s great advice for any writer out there.

Another piece of great advice for any writer out there: READ ELMORE LEONARD. He’s one of the greatest novelists of not only our time, but all time.

Here’s 10 books from the late, great author they called “Dutch” to get you started.

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June 6, 2012

Top 10 YA Books That Should Be Adapted for Film

  By Sarah Pitre

There seems to be a flaw in the human brain when it comes to film adaptations of books. I say this because movies rarely, if ever, turn out to be better than their literary source material. And yet, every time I finish an amazing novel, I immediately start praying that it will be made into a film. Seriously, brain, what’s up with that?

Well, when it comes to love, I guess I can’t be rational, and I’m smitten with these books. The idea of getting to experience them again, in a different if inferior way, still ridiculously excites me, so Hollywood, I hope you’re paying attention.

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May 26, 2012

Ten Authors Who Write Great Dialogue

Elmore Leonard

By Meredith Borders

Dialogue is a tricky beast. There are so many writers who can craft stunning descriptive passages, entirely believable characters and heart-pounding action sequences, but whose dialogue falls flat and pale. Here are ten authors who can create a conversation that crackles.

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May 11, 2012

Ten Gay Men’s Novels You Should Already Have Read If You Consider Yourself Even Semi-Literate

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:52 am

  By Ed Sikov

We’re glibbets, which rhymes with the froggy ribbets, and we have a literary canon that most of you won’t read. What’s a glibbet? A glibbet is a member of the GLBT community: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender. Like the jingle for the old Women’s Lib-co-opting Virginia Slims “fags” (as the Brits call them), “we’ve got our own set of classics now, baby – we’ve come a long, long way.” The trouble is, straight people won’t be caught dead taking any self-segregated GLBT lit college classes, and after you graduate, it’s hopeless. You people generally have to be shamed into reading gay-themed books by aren’t-afraid-to-be-assholes-about-it assholes like me, who enjoy pointing out that while we glibbets read the work of straight writers all the time, you straight folks – particularly men – generally continue on your merry way without bothering to read our work at all.

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April 28, 2012

Bangs, Whimpers, and Apes: The Top 10 World-Ending Events In Science Fiction

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:04 am

 By Jon Korn

The world ends all the time in science fiction. And, depending on which conspiracy sites you’ve been reading, it might be Doomsday for real this year. After all, it’s not often that the Mayans and Roland Emmerich agree on something.

So, in honor of 2012 possibly (probably?) being the last year of history, it only seems right to count down my top ten favorite world-ending events in sci-fi. So go grab some dehydrated water and a grip of shotgun shells. I’ll meet you in the storm cellar.

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March 4, 2012

Top 10 YA Books That Adults Will Love

By Meredith Borders

Even as a young adult, I never read much Young Adult fiction. But a few years ago my friends started Forever Young Adult, a hilarious site aimed at grown-ups who love YA. Being friends with YA experts means that I always have someone to weed through the dross and recommend (and loan me) the best the genre has to offer. I’m here today to pass on their expertise to you. I’ll leave out the classics (Wrinkle in TimeThe Outsiders, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, etc) because most of us read those back when we were little lit-fiends. Today, I’m going to stick with more recent YA success stories.

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February 28, 2012

10 Graphic Novels for the Literary Minded

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:44 am

By Kelly Thompson

As graphic novels continue to become more widely accepted by the general public, I encounter more and more people unsure about where to start reading.  There’s a lot of product out there, which can make it difficult to find the right entry point.  Additionally, many pick the wrong entry point and tend to run screaming from the medium. But when you read a bad book, you don’t swear off books, you just swear off that author, or perhaps that genre.  The same should be true for Graphic Novels.  And so with that in mind, I offer you 10 graphic novels for the literary minded, broken down by genre to give you a fighting chance at picking something you might enjoy.  I’ve avoided the usual suspects – Maus, Watchmen, and the like, which are both excellent of course, but have also been recommended a million times before – in favor of some more recent offerings that you may or may not have heard about.

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February 15, 2012

LURID: My Top 10 Bloody Valentines

LURID: vivid in shocking detail; sensational, horrible in savagery or violence, or, a twice-monthly guide to the merits of the kind of Bad Books you never want your co-workers to know you're reading.

By Karina Wilson

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you currently count yourself as a lover, or not, today’s thoughts naturally turn to that biggest of Big Questions: what is Love, anyway?

A friend once told me that his version of Love was watching his girlfriend drink coffee in the morning and thinking “everything is going to be alright”.  That’s cute, but… really?  I’d say Love is the polar opposite; it’s glimpsing your loved one doing something innocuous (like sucking on a latte) and experiencing a stomach-churning mix of terror, vulnerability, pain, ecstasy and the discomfiture of your blood leaving your brain and flooding your nether regions.  It should make you stumble. It should make you weep. It should make you painfully aware that everything is not “alright”, and it never will be again so long as both of you exist on this planet — and in some cases, thereafter, and down the generations of your luckless descendants.

In my book(s),  Love is… dangerous, insane, complicated, dirty, vicious, inconvenient, overwhelming, destructive, humiliating and often fatal.  Bad Books are not driven by healthy relationships.  Au contraire, the dynamism comes from couplings that are twisted, unnatural, shocking and just downright wrong. The flame of passion blazes even brighter because there’s nothing safe, stable or sensible about the connection between two individuals. Does anyone really want to read about “happily ever after”?

If you want genuine fireworks this Valentine’s Day, instead of the sappy, Hallmarked, cute-coffee-drinker variety, then let these Lurid couples illuminate how Love truly burns.

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February 11, 2012

The Top 10 Fictional Antiheroes

Column by Meredith Borders

What makes a character an antihero? Certainly, he must be a protagonist who doesn’t display traditionally heroic traits, but that can’t be all. The reader must truly root for the character, we must be drawn to him despite ourselves. Perhaps his motivations are impure, his choices unconventional, but ultimately he must possess a certain charm or allure that ignites our sympathy and engages our interest. The antihero is complex and unknowable, and because of that, he is fascinating in ways a pure hero or villain could never be.

Below are ten of the greatest antiheroes in literature.

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