Tag Archives: novels

The Birth of the Novel

From The Daily Beast—the opening paragraph about a very large undertaking:

On the second of the 1,106 pages in his new book, The Novel: A Biography, Michael Schmidt claims without apparent irony that he is writing “what sets out to be a brief life of the novel in English.” Since the hero of his biography has lived for over 600 years in the works of thousands of practitioners, a mere 1,106 pages might be excused as a brief life. But any biographer of the novel faces a problem more fundamental than compressing between two covers a vast and unwieldy subject. It’s also essential—and surprisingly difficult—to articulate what exactly defines a novel.

Why Read New Books?

From The New York Review of Books:

Hasn’t it all been done before? Perhaps better than anyone today could ever do it? If so, why read contemporary novels, especially when so many of the classics are available at knockdown prices and for the most part absolutely free as e-books?

Interesting answers in the article…

On Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

From Dublin Review of Books:

“Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita was first published in 1955 in Paris by Olympia Press. It was later published in 1958 in New York by GP Putnam’s and Sons and in London by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1959.

It should be, and probably has been, told to a psychoanalyst, and it has been elaborated into a novel which contains some wonderful writing, but it is overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian. To the public, it will be revolting. It will not sell, and it will do immeasurable harm to a growing reputation … It is a totally perverse performance all around … I am most disturbed at the thought that the writer has asked that this be published. I can see no possible cause could be served by its publication now. I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.

As rejections go, this one – from an early reader of Lolita for an unidentified publisher – is fairly emphatic…”


Scott Turow on Legal Novels

From The Browser—FiveBook Interviews:

The author tells us about his favourite novels with legal themes and the issues of justice, morality and human mess they bring to light.

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Len Gutkin on The Cocktail Waitress, by James M. Cain

“The Terrifying Wish that Comes True: On Cain’s ‘The Cocktail Waitress'” from The Los angeles Review of Books:

James M. Cain tells fairy tales that end badly. For Cain, “the wish that comes true” comprises everything from spousal murder to criminally amassed wealth to incest to suppressed homosexual desire. As Freud knew, there’s nothing more shattering than getting what you really want, and Cain’s novels tend to end with the fulfillment of that ultimate secret wish — the protagonist’s death.

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What Is a Literary Novel?

An article from the Huffington Post by Warren Adler wrestles with the definition of a “literary novel.” He opens with this statementL

I have been baffled for years over what constitutes the definition of a “literary” novel.

Don’t we all, Mr. Adler—at least those interested in literature and definitions. Yet, doesn’t it seem odd that people steeped in the use of words—for years—have yet to provide an adequate definition of what makes a book “literary fiction?” Perhaps it is due to over-analysis.


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Live chat via philly.com about my novel, Waiting for Zoë, February 13, 2012.

Opinion piece about my book, Novel offers nuanced view of those in the hinterlands, by Frank Wilson, book editor, that was in the Philadelphia Inquirer, February 12, 2012. A PDF version: AmentArticlePE.

Book review by Stephen Knapp, Evergreen Newspapers, published October 26, 2011. (Behind paywall) A PDF version: Upslope Article

A conversation with author, Jim Ament: Interview—December 8, 2011

Article about my book in Just Around Here, December 2, 2011

Blue Ink Review of Waiting for ZoëOctober, 2011

Signed publishing contract with Hugo House Publishers, April 28, 2011

My Novel—an Update—March 7, 2011

Elevator Speech for my Novel—October 28, 2010

My First Novel—September 7, 2010

Origins, an essay about my early life, which explains where some of the themes of Waiting for Zoë originated—September 3, 2010

How to buy Waiting for Zoë:

  1. If you are local to where I live, I will hand deliver a personalized, signed, and discounted copy to you for $17.00 (Retail price: $19.95), cash or personal check, plus 4.6% sales tax (or a total of $17.78) since I cannot sell within the state of Colorado without collecting sales tax appropriate to the county where I live—Jefferson County.  You can also buy it at HearthFire Books in Evergreen, CO or Mountain Books in Conifer, CO and Broadway Book Mall in Denver, CO
  2. If you reside within the continental United States, you can buy my book at the store (“Buy my Book”) on my website www.jamesrament.com using PayPal or a check. Or, you can simply email me at jimament@evcohs.com with instructions on where to ship the book (or books). You will receive a personalized, signed, and discounted copy for $17.00, plus sales tax if you reside in the state of Colorado, plus $3.00 shipping and handling, for each book.
  3. You can also buy my book via amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com and it is available in Kindle and Nook formats. These channels would be best for all international customers.