L is for Leering

Not all of them, of course, but D. H. Lawrence is on the list, so the post title seemed appropriate.

L'Amour, Louis: When I was growing up, a friend's family owned a cabin on Lake George. The bookcase included almost every Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour paperbacks ever written! I don't remember the titles at all, but I know I read books by both authors.

Langton, Jane writes the Homer Kelly mysteries. I have read a number of these and liked them. However, after awhile I began to get a little squeamish about one of Langton's recurring subplots: idealistic and dumb young man gets forced into an engagement with pushy, aggressive, rich young woman. He really loves an idealistic, sweet young woman. At some point in the book, he will be rescued from the pushy, aggressive young woman and delivered to the idealistic, sweet young woman.

I'm not automatically opposed to this subplot; shoot, Austen used it! I'm using it (sort of) for my story about Aubrey's brother Richard! The problem is that after a few of Langton's books, the young men tend to blur into each other; I started to think that "he" should get his act together and stop being so stupid. Besides, if he could get railroaded once, he could get railroaded again. How could you ever trust him?

Richard has been railroaded, but he will get himself out of the problem caused by himself, not be rescued by circumstance.

Unfortunately, Langton reused this subplot in a very stupid way with major characters in a later book. Some readers were disillusioned. I wasn't because she'd already done it a million times. But it did kind of prove my point.

Lathen, Emma is totally unappreciated! I love her books, which are slowly disappearing from library shelves. I think her Wall Street books would make a great television series.

Laurens, Stephanie is a writer of hot romance. Her plots are okay, but I've only read a few. Her writing style (language) and writing content (a little light on believability re: human nature) don't grab me.

Lawrence, D.H. wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover, a really dumb book. I know some people love it, but I can never get past Lawrence's glorification of farm-work over mining. They will both kill ya (especially in the nineteenth-to-early twentieth centuries). Being all earthy above ground is not automatically more ennobling than being all mechanized and earthy below ground.  Granted, Lawrence knew first-hand about the type of poverty associated with industrialization, but idealizing the life of the peasant is hardly a viable solution. Unless, of course, you're some intellectual type who likes to urge people back to nature based on the untenable belief that it will be just like The Little House on the Prairie, the show, not The Little House on the Prairie, the back-breaking, dirt-poor reality.

LeCarre, John is good. Too cynical for my long-term reading list. But good.

Lee, Harper, of course, produced the classic To Kill A Mockingbird which deserves its classic designation.

I saw A Kiss Before Dying when I was a teen.
It took me years to remember the title and find it again.
Yup, that's Robert Wagner!
Levin, Ira wrote The Stepford Wives, which I haven't read, and A Kiss Before Dying, which I have. The latter is good as is the movie. But Levin employs a tone in his writing which I find distasteful. I can't pinpoint what makes it sound the way it does or even what "it" is--cynicism, salaciousness? Whatever it is, I can't read a lot of it.

Lewis, Sinclair: I highly recommend the movie Dodsworth, based on Lewis's book of the same title. I like the movie so much, I have tried several times to read the book. It ends on the same weird note mentioned in Levin's snippet above. I guess supposedly profound authors think they have to be jaundiced or something. I consider such pessimism to be a waste of time. If I want jaundiced, I can go listen to a bunch of 20-year-old college students bemoaning the world in a late-night study session. And 30 seconds of that will cure ya!

Linscott, Gillian is a mystery writer whom, I just learned, also goes by "Cora Peacock"! I've read some of her mysteries and liked them, but my favorite piece by Linscott is "A Scandal in Winter" in the Holmes for the Holidays anthology. One of the all-time best short stories! I reread it every Christmas.

LeGuin, Ursula is a great author! And, I confess, I've read very little by her.

London, Jack is another great author! Unfortunately, his short story "To Build a Fire" is required reading for many, many high school and college students (of which I was one). Good story. Totally depressing (but in a larger-than-life sense rather than an everybody-stinks sense). For years, I didn't know that London wrote anything that had what one could call a happy ending. He did.

Scooby-Doo's Char-Gar Gothakon, a creature
created by HP "Hatecraft." I bet you thought
I was making up the Scooby-Do tribute!
Lovecraft, H.P.: My Folklore class has inspired me to dig into Lovecraft! Lovecraft doesn't write the kind of stuff I like to read, but he does provide a great example of a writer gaining folk/cultural status after death. Writers about horror put Lovecraft second in the American Horror Triumvirate: Poe, Lovecraft, King. (Lovecraft mentions Poe as an influence; King mentions Lovecraft and Poe as an influence.) Once you get into Lovecraft, you begin to realize that there is a whole world out of there of video games, Scooby-Doo episodes, and clubs just waiting to enlighten and amuse you about the greatness of an odd little man from Rhode Island.

Ludlum, Robert: I tried the Bourne books. I got totally bored. Good movies!

June 18, 2014

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