My Recommended Reading List!

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In my college classes at both Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA,  I sometimes do something I call — Chuck’s recommended readings.  I ask the students to write the title and author I suggest and then tell the students that what they do with that information is entirely up to them.  I have put together a partial list of some of the books I have suggested. Some of them I consider among the best and most important books ever written, and some I simply found to be wonderful and entertaining.

Now, the list of Doc Chuck’s Recommended Readings:

Agee, James and Walker Evans. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Allende, Isabel. The House of the Spirits.

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.

Brown, Larry. Fay.

Cervantes, Miguel De. Don Quixote.

Delaney, Frank. Ireland.

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities.

Doyle, Roddy. A Star Called Henry.

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose.

Gaiman, Neil. American Gods.

Grass, Günter. The Tin Drum.

Helprin, Mark. A Soldier of the Great War.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . The Pacific and Other Stories.

Hemingway, Ernest. For Whom The Bell Tolls.

Homer. The Iliad.

. . . . . . . The Odyssey.

King, Stephen. Hearts In Atlantis.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . The Stand.

Lee, Harper.  To Kill A Mockingbird.

Poe, Edgar Allan.  Complete Works.

Rice, Anne. Interview With the Vampire.

Rowling, J. K. The entire Harry Potter series.

Shakespeare, William. The Collected Works.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein.

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Shadow of the Wind.

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief.

I am certain there are many books I have forgotten to mention.  This is neither intended to be all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be authoritarian.  I hope that someone may find a book or books from this list, read them, and enjoy them.

Happy reading!

 

 

A Renewed Call To Join The Underground Library Society!

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I am again asking for those who would like to join the U.L.S.,the Underground Library Society, to join and write a guest post. I put this request out several times over the course of a year, because I hope to have more people join in the cause.

In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again.

In that spirit, I am putting out the call once more for like-minded people to join The U.L.S. All that is needed is to choose a book you would memorize if the need ever arose. The type or genre of the chosen piece does not matter.  There is no restriction on what you would become. You do not, however, actually have to memorize  the book now. If you wish to join, simply write a guest post in which you say what book you would “become” and why.

I have had several other bloggers join the U. L. S. Join the movement!

I hope many of you choose to join.

In the past, I have mentioned that I would become one of the following books: The Lord Of The Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

If you do wish to do a post, please email me at frenchc1955@yahoo.com  and write a guest post as a Word doc. Thank you.

Charles F. French

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I am looking forward to hearing from new members!

Please, come and join in the fun!

Rest In Peace Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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R. I. P. Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Readers of the world have suffered a terrible loss.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon, the Spanish author of The Shadow of the Wind, died of cancer on June 19, 2020. He was a brilliant author, and his novel and the others in his series of the Cemetery of Forgotten books touched many readers.

I consider The Shadow of the Wind not only to be one of my favorite books, but also one of the best and most important novels. If you have not yet read it, you should. It would be the best way to pay homage to this brilliant writer.

Here is a quotation from  that book: “Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens” (5-6).

He was an extraordinary writer, who communicated his love of stories and books to his readers, and he will be missed.

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Works Cited

Zafón, Carlos Ruiz. The Shadow of the Wind. Penguin. 2005.

Chapter Reading Summary at School

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Here is another wonderful post from the excellent teacher Jennie!

A Teacher's Reflections

As a teacher, I write about many things I do with young children.  I will tell you that the most important thing I do is reading aloud.  I know this is #1.  I also chapter read, which is uncommon in preschool.  It is my favorite part of the day.  Children feel the same way.  At the end of the school year I send a newsletter to families about the chapter books we read throughout the year.  And of course I tell them so much more.

Chapter Reading
June 17, 2020

Chapter reading is one of our treasured moments of the day.  We bring to life the imagination, the world, and the past.  The anticipation of ‘what happens next’ stirs excitement every day.  Children listen and think.  They ask questions.  Ask your child, “At chapter reading where do you make the pictures?”  You will hear your child say, “In your head.”

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Celebrate the Solstice and Litha!

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June 20-June 21st is one of the most important times in the pre-Christian Celtic calendar. It is the solstice and the day with the longest daylight of the year, and it is a celebration of the coming summer.

Please understand, that there is nothing evil or Satanic in this holiday or its celebration. It is simply an expression of seasonal joy.

Happy Solstice!

Happy Litha!

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How Are You Doing With Your WIP?

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Yes!

I have reached my first writing goal for this month! I am now halfway through the 2nd draft of the third book in the Investigative Paranormal Society series! My next goal is to finish this draft by the end of the month. My long-term goal for this book is to release it around Halloween!

Next month I will do the 2nd draft of my political thriller, then the 2nd draft of a Historical Romance–yes, you heard that correctly–and then I will begin my next 1st draft.

So, I ask all of you: what is the status of your Work In Progress?

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Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

 

Magic In Stories!

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There is magic in stories. Magic is the transmutation of objects or the manipulation of the world in ways that move outside the realm of science. Whether or not magic is real in the sense of the here and now world is not the point; magic is a metaphor for fiction. Stephen King says, “books are a uniquely portable magic” (104). This magic is in the words, in their transmitting from the writer to the reader other worlds and ideas. In writing fiction, writers create a world that was not there; even so-called realistic, literary writers create an alternate world that readers inhabit when they read the book. The writers and the readers, in a mystical incantation, create another reality, one that can be so strong sometimes that readers can be moved to tears or laughter or sadness or joy or grief or sorrow or despair or hope. Readers come to care about the characters and feel empathy as if they were real. That is a kind of magic.

Neil Gaiman, in his introduction to Ray Bradbury’s  60th Anniversary Edition Fahrenheit 451, speaks to the power of the written word and stories: “Ideas—written ideas—are special. They are the way we our stories and our thoughts from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human. And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over” (xvi). It is through the creation of artificial worlds, no matter how speculative or fantastic, that we experience our world in more intensity and with deeper clarity. This act of magic is what we share as writers and readers. I am honored to be a mere apprentice in the magic of writing novels.

Works Cited

Gaiman, Neil. “Introduction.” Ray Bradbury. 60th Anniversary Edition Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Scribner, 2000.

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Masters of Camouflage~

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Here are more beautiful photographs from Cindy Knoke!

Scaly-Breasted Lorikeets,

are easy to hear,

but hard to see,

they blend in so perfectly with their arboreal home!

Cheers to you from the well camouflaged lorikeets in Oz~

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Suggest a Book, Part 3

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In this third segment of Suggest a Book, I want to offer another favorite of mine–The Lord Of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.  Yes, I am referring to this as one book, not as a trilogy, which was only published as three separate books on the insistence of his publisher.

I have read this book about once every ten years, and I am due to read it again. I first discovered it as a teenager, and I have enjoyed it ever since.

This extraordinary book is both the mythology of Britain, and the best, in my opinion, fantasy ever written. Among the various themes are life and death, good and evil, the capacity for people of all kinds to coexist and to become heroes, mysticism, magic, the nature of leadership, and the constant need of good people to oppose tyranny.

If you have never read this book, then I recommend it highly. It is a book you should read at least once!

What is a book you suggest for others to read?

 

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June Self-Promotion Party!

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Hello to all the writers out there and reading this blog!

It is time for a shameless self-promotion party, so please do not be shy about your work.

Let the world know about your book(s)!

Tell us about your book, and leave an image and a link if you can.

In order for as many people to see your work as possible, please Tweet and reblog this post!

Please remember to be proud of your work!

Here is my self-promotion: my latest book can help writers who have issues with finishing first drafts of their books. If that is you, I offer direct, practical advice on how to Get The Draft Done! by Charles F. French.

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Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001