The Collected Tweets of Jim LePore, Volume I

jimlepore James LePore

The difficulty in life is the choice. George Moore

28 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #100, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, M Kundera. How deep into our subconscious does the process of choosing go?

28 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs if we had some eggs. Anonymous Depression Quote

24 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #99, Cannery Row. Gritty, funny, sad. The human condition as seen by JS, and he sees it with x-ray vision.

24 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

In the long run of history the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. A. Griswold,

22 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. Heinrich Heine,

22 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The paper burns, but the words fly away. Akiba ben Joseph

22 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #98, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. Repression and censorship vs. the human spirit. We win, and we always will.

22 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

We always long for the forbidden things, and desire what is denied us. Francois Rabelais

21 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #97, The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene. The ancient struggle between desire and obligation. Your heart will ache.

21 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. Trotsky?

21 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

You go back to her and I go back to us. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black. The pain of the love triangle

20 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #96, King, Queen, Knave, Nabokov. Funny, erotic, the master at his most accessible.

20 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

How much more damaging are the consequences of your anger than its causes. Marcus Aurelius

18 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #95, The Mill On The Floss, George Eliot. High drama, what the English ethic used to be, but is no more.

18 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Laugh if you can, or failing that, give vent In hissing fury to your discontent. Robertson Davies

15 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #94, The Salterton Trilogy, Robertson Davies. Unmatchable comedic writing, and very wise.

15 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Loneliness is the central and inevitable fact of human existence. Thomas Wolfe

13 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 novels #95, Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin. A master at work. Painful and beautiful.

13 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Its one thing to kill in defense of your home, your family, your country. Its another thing when you kill for money or power. Louis L’Amour.

2 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #94, Silver Canyon, Louis L’Amour. The drifter comes to town. Style and substance and a timeless theme.

2 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

No man can save his brother’s soul, or pay his brother’s debt. Matthew Arnold.

1 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #93, Dark Star: A Novel, Alan Furst. Pre-WWII espionage. Much better than LeCarre. Deep research and great writing.

1 Sep Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The bourgeois prefers comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to the deathly inner consuming fire. Hesse

21 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #s 91, Mr. Bridge and 92, Mrs. Bridge. The sadness and emptiness of two American lives. Will pierce your heart.

21 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Deliberate violence is more to be quenched than a fire. Heraclitus

18 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #90, A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess. Prophetic: Alex and his droogs have reappeared on the streets of London.

18 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing. Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #89, Beat to Quarters, C.S. Forester. High, grand adventure, but HH has an internal life as well.

16 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Only the dead have seen the end of war. Plato

15 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #’s 87, 88: The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Herman Wouk. WWII. I envy those who have yet to read them.

15 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

There was a thing called Christianity. The ethics of under-consumption. So essential when there was under-production; but…Brave New World.

13 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #86, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley. The best combination of sci-fi and satire ever written.

13 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity. Robert Frost

10 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #85, Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote. Capote has x-ray vision into the human heart. His first and best novel.

10 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. Mark Twain

9 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #84, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad. The PC crowd doesn’t like it, but to me that’s a great recommendation.

9 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

To the impassioned will all things by possible. Thornton Wilder

7 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #83, Theophilus North, Thornton Wilder. You won’t stop smiling as Theophilus (God’s handyman) fixes everybody.

7 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

You see someone on the street, and essentially what you notice about them is the flaw. Diane Arbus

2 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore To 100 Novels #82, Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham. The story of club-footed Philip is the story of all of us flawed humans.

2 Aug Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 novels #81, Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence. The Oedipal complex in all its miserable glory. Genius at work.

30 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Anyone who hasn’t experienced the ecstasy of betrayal knows nothing about ecstasy at all. Jean Genet

28 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #80, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark. Short and bitter-sweet. NB: The flash-forward as a plot device.

28 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #79, Losing Battles, Eudora Welty. Told almost completely in dialogue, a southern family in all its crazy glory.

25 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it. Blaise Pascal

23 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels # 78, Atonement, Ian McEwan. The fiction monster destroys and blesses.

23 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The cynics are right nine times out of ten. Henry Louis Mencken

22 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #77, All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren. American politics laid bare, and not a pretty picture.

22 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The ultimate disease of our time is valuelessness. This state is more crucially dangerous than ever before in history. Abraham Maslow

20 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #76, Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler. Stalin’s Russia, the worker’s paradise. A classic.

20 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

We must love one another or die. W. H. Auden

20 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #75, A Dance to the Music of Time, A. Powell. The human heart at work over a fifty year period. Never out of print.

20 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #74, We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Andre Dubus. Dubus’ realness is as good as it gets. His characters are you and me.

14 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

I am on your side. But you have no way of knowing it, because your heart is blind. The Stranger

13 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #73, A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul. Colonial Africa through the eyes of an uprooted shopkeeper. A masterpiece.

13 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #72, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe. NY’s 1980’s soul laid bare. Some say the city’s changed, but has it?

12 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Nathan Detroit: I have been running this crap game since I was a juvenile delinquent.

7 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #71, Dream Street, D. Runyon. If I have all the tears that are shed on Broadway by guys in love, I will have enough…

7 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can endure, as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos devoured raw. Henry David Thoreau

5 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #70, The Call of the Wild, Jack London. Nietzsche would have loved Buck, the dog as superman.

5 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart. Vincent van Gogh

4 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country. Daniel Webster

1 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #69, Rabble in Arms, Ken Roberts. America begins. There were definitely angels in this whirlwind. Happy 4th to all.

1 Jul Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

If you are looking for a big opportunity, seek out a big problem. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

30 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #68, Kidnapped. There’s something about the Scots, from the paranoid and miserly to the incredibly brave. Classic.

30 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Any kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary. Nathan Hale

27 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #67, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, J. le Carré. Not James Bond. The only cold war spy novel you’ll have to read.

27 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. Frederick Buechner

25 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

From a certain point onward there s no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached. Franz Kafka

23 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute. Rebecca West

23 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #66, A Room with a View, E. M. Forster. A woman breaking free. The 20th century begins.

23 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #65, The Remains of the Day, K. Ishiguro. An emotionally stunted butler doesn’t sound like much but it’s a masterpiece.

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jimlepore James LePore

Live to the point of tears. Camus

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #64, Washington Square, Henry James. Can cruelty ever be justified? Shattering.

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jimlepore James LePore

They have tied me to a stake. I cannot fly, but, bear-like, I must fight the course. William Shakespeare

15 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself. Soren Kierkegaard

15 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #63, The Moviegoer, Walker Percy is the American Camus, only with a sense of humor. Deep waters, but very rewarding.

15 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Mr. Knightley: Vanity working on a weak mind produces every kind of mischief.

13 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #62, Emma, Jane Austen. Spoiled, rich, meddling, above-it-all, how can you not love Emma?

13 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Weimar Berlin, the prime breeding ground of evil. Ben Hecht

10 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #61, Goodbye To Berlin, Christopher Isherwood. Sally Bowles made famous by Isherwood’s “camera” and beautiful prose.

10 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

I think I could be a good woman if I had five thousand a year. Becky Sharp

9 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top Novels #60, Vanity Fair. The omniscient narrator at work in high style, more fun and mordant than its only rival, War

and Piece.

9 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

As a remedy to life in society, I suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means. Albert Camus

8 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #59, Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser. The girl in the city. Harshly realistic, the great urban novel.

8 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Tell me who admires and loves you, and I will tell you who you are. Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

7 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #58, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, G. Bassani. A walled garden cannot keep out the Nazis in Italy. Sad. Beautiful.

7 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #57, Deliverance, James Dickey. Men in the wilderness, before PC, confronting monsters, external and internal.

6 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

It is curious—curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare. Mark Twain

2 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #56, Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner. Quiet, ordinary lives made heroic by Stegner’s magic. High art.

2 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

King Louis: There are those who dedicate their lives to truth, honor, and freedom…the Musketeers. Rise, D’Artagnan, and join

them.

1 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #55, The Three Musketeers, A. Dumas. Athos, Aramis, D’Artagnon: One For All! Sets the standard for swashbucklers.

1 Jun Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

31 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #54, The Awakening, Kate Chopin. Extremely controversial in its day, heartbreaking, an American classic.

31 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. Oscar Wilde

29 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels, #53, East of Eden,John Steinbeck. Rambling and riveting, the terrible pull of family love—and hate.

29 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Memorial Day: A day set aside in memory of all American soldiers who have given their lives for their country.

24 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #52, All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque. Banned in Nazi Germany. Stark, simple, devastating.

24 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

@AdviceToWriters When asked what he was trying to do, Hem’s answer was, “Get it right.”

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jimlepore James LePore

A really good detective never gets married. Raymond Chandler

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #51, The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins. The first detective novel. A priceless diamond is stolen and a genre begins.

21 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

One is not born a woman, one becomes one. Simone de Beauvoir

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #50, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte. High drama, the first feminist novel.

20 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity. Andre Gide

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #49, Anna Karenina. Aristocratic Czarist Russians speak French and have affairs. Tolstoy exposes their hell. High art.

19 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

A true friend stabs you in the front. Oscar Wilde

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #48, Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry. The great hero myth of Texas. Untouchable elucidation of friendship.

18 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by decrease in bitterness. Friedrich Nietzsche

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #47, Silas Marner, George Elliot. Opium addiction, bitterness, cruelty. The broken human spirit, saved by love.

17 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

…the epitaph drear, “A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.” Rudyard Kipling

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #46, A Passage To India. Forster knew that India, more than any country on earth, calls to us all. His masterpiece.

14 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Yet ’tis greater skill In a true hate to pray they have their will; the very devils cannot plague them better. William Shakespeare

13 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #45, Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier. The 20th century Jane Eyre. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”

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jimlepore James LePore

No socialist system can be established without a political police. Winston Churhill

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jimlepore James LePore

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. Winston Churchill

12 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill

12 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #44, 1984. Revolution betrayed by totalitarian fanatics. Orwell’s classic cautionary tale is more relevant than ever.

12 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

A blow in cold blood neither can nor should be forgiven. George Bernard Shaw

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jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #43, In Cold Blood, Truman Capote. The start of a new genre, a spellbinding masterpiece that changed the way we think.

11 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The heart of the wise man lives in the house of pain; the heart of the fool lives in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:4

10 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #42, The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton. One woman’s descent into the hell of social elitism.

10 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

But nothing in India is identifiable, the mere asking of a question causes it to disappear or to merge in something else. E. M. Forster

8 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #41, The Raj Quartet, Paul Scott. Colonialism, racism, heroism. Life at ground level in India prior to the breakup.

8 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true. Luigi Pirandello

5 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #40, The Metamorphosis. Kafka’s fable of the absurd.

5 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. George Washington

4 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #39, The Last of the Mohicans. Still in print and enthralling adventure lovers 185 years after it was first published.

4 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The basic assumption of the secular society is that modernity overcomes religion. Ulrich Beck

3 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #38, The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann. Life among the chronically ill. Strange, complex, brilliant. Modernity exposed.

3 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #37, The Wanderers, Richard Price. Get ready for the ride of your life. Raw and riveting.

2 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

He who does not punish evil commands it to be done. Leonardo da Vinci

2 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The most persistent sound which reverberates through men’s history is the beating of war drums. Arthur Koestler

1 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #36, A Farewell To Arms, Papa at his best: lean, honest prose, the bleakness of war and personal tragedy side by side.

1 May Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. Dwight D. Eisenhower

30 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #35, I Claudius, Robert Graves. Liberty versus dictatorship in ancient Rome. Graves writes as if he lived it.

30 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The privilege of absurdity, to which no living creature is subject but man only. Thomas Hobbes

29 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #34, Catch 22, Joseph Heller. I’ve read it three times. Heller is America’s Kafka.

29 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

If you have done terrible things, you must endure terrible things; for thus the sacred light of injustice shines bright. Sophocles

28 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top Novel #33, The Oxbow Incident, Walter Van Tilberg Clark. Chilling.

28 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others. Analect ( Lun Yu ) – Confucius 15:24 and 12:5

27 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #32, The Good Earth, Pearl Buck. No stylistic complexity, no irony, just a great story about China at its core.

27 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win. Stephen King

26 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 novels #31, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, B. Travern. How greed corrodes the soul. Written in 1927, it’s message is timeless.

26 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Gentleman songsters off on a spree Doomed from here to eternity Lord have mercy on such as we The Whiffenpoof Song

25 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #30, From Here To Eternity, James Jones (Max Perkins’ last great author at Scribner) Pearl Harbor just before 12/7/41.

25 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless. Charles M. Crowe

24 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Have the courage to live, anyone can die. Robert Cody

22 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 novels #29. Shane, Jack Schaeffer. ‘What a man knows isn’t important. It’s what he is that counts.’

22 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

From High Wind in Jamaica: Their minds are not just more ignorant and stupider than ours, but differ in kind of thinking, are

mad, in fact.

20 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #28, High Wind In Jamaica, Richard Hughes. The madness of children on their own. You will not forget this book.

20 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one. Honore de Balzac

19 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #27, Ivanhoe, Walter Scott. High drama, high adventure, Robin Hood, chivalry, romance, it has it all.

19 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

We have long passed the Victorian Era when asterisks were followed after a certain interval by a baby. W. Somerset Maugham

18 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #26, The Forsyte Saga (all 7), John Galsworthy. High-end soap opera, the best ever written.

18 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The full name of the city of Los Angeles: Ciudad de Nuestra Senora, La Reina de Los Angeles. (City of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels).

17 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #25, Ask The Dust, John Fante. The real Los Angeles

17 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day. John Milton.

16 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #24, The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

16 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals. Oscar Wilde

15 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #23: Tai-Pan, James Clavell. Drama, action, the founding of Hong Kong. The individual as hero. Better than Rand.

15 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break. William Shakespeare

14 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

LePore Top 100 Novels #22, So Long, See You Tomorrow, William Maxwell. 135 pages of sheer genius. WM might be the best American writer ever.

14 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

Native American wisdom: 2 wolves are battling inside of us. The first is the wolf of love. The other is hatred. The one we feed will win.

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LePore Top 100 Novels #21, Laughing Boy, Oliver LaForge. All you need to know about the Native American experience in the West.

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In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end. Alexis de Tocqueville.

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LePore Top 100 Novels #20, My Antonia. The American West brought to vivid life. Cather’s first of several masterpieces.

12 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

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What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame. Friedrich Nietzsche. (I’m on a roll with his guy).

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LePore Top 100 Novels #19, To Kill A Mockingbird. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

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jimlepore James LePore

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. Friedrich Nietzsche

9 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

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LePore Top 100 Novels #18, Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis. Academic conformity and asininity exposed. Modern satire at its hilarious best.

9 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

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LePore Top 100 Novels #17: Portrait of a Lady, Henry James. The great novel of betrayal and old world money unmasked.

8 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

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Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons, whom thou shalt make princes in all the earth. Psalm 46:16

7 Apr Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons. Winston Churchill

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“Every busy soul needs a place of repose.” Line spoken by the character Vincent Rizzo (played by Andy Garcia) in the movie City Island.

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LePore Top 100 Novels #16, Gone With The Wind. The title and the central characters are imprinted on the American psyche.

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“Sooner or later, Mr. Fowler, one has to take sides, if one is to remain human.” From The Quiet American.

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LePore Top 100 Novels, #15, The Quiet American, Graham Greene. He saw Viet Nam coming. A quietly great novel.

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It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

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LePore Top 100 Novels #14, The Leopard, Guiseppe di Lampedusa. Moral decadence remorselessly exposed. A must read.

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LePore Top 100 Novels #13, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov. Spellbinding.

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But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? Albert Camus

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LePore Top 100 Novels, #12: The Stranger, Albert Camus. On his worst day Camus left Sartre in the dust.

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LePore Top 100 Novels #11, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh. The operation of God’s grace, often unearned, in our lives. Waugh’s best.

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jimlepore James LePore

“Silence, exile and cunning.” James Joyce. (What you need to write).

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Life’s richest gifts flow from frustration and cruelty and separation. Thornton Wilder

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LePore Top 100 Novels #10: Madame Bovary. We take realism for granted, but Flaubert was the first to portray life as it actually is.

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LePore Top 100 novels #9, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers. Published when she was only 23, a masterpiece.

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LePore Top 100 Novels #8, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck. The Joads are now a permanent part of our national consciousness.

30 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

jimlepore James LePore

The heart has reasons that reason does not know. Blaise Pascal

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LePore Top 100 Novels #7, The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway and Fitzgerald: the first modern American novelists.

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LePore Top 100 Novels #6: A Death In The Family, James Agee. A simple narrative with a profound emotional impact. An American classic.

28 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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Your language becomes clear and strong not when you can no longer add, but when you can no longer take away. Isaac Babel

26 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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LePore Top 100 novels, #5, Bang the Drum Slowly, Mark Harris. Not about baseball, about the largeness of the human heart.

25 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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LePore Top 100 Novels, #4: Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austin. Character, honor, moral judgment, stubbornness, selfishness. The human condition.

23 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t. Richard Bach

20 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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LePore Top 100 Novels, #3: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Comes closest to being the great American novel.

17 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. Franz Kafka

17 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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LePore Top 100 Novels, #2: The Woman of Andros, Thornton Wilder. It’s about how we live, and must be read.

17 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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LePore Top 100 Novels #1: Cry The Beloved Country, Alan Paton. Two fathers bury their sons, and apartheid begins to crumble.

17 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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The individual is the only reality. Carl Gustav Jung

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What is uttered from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. Mark Twain

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We cannot destroy kindred: our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break. Marquise de Sévigné

9 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

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As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport. King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 32–37

7 Mar Favorite Reply Delete

 

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Bird On Wire-Crimson

Bird On Wire-Crimson

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October 19, 2011 · 6:33 pm

The Best Editing Advice You Will Ever Get

Max Perkins invented fiction editing, making it a craft in its own right, where before it had simply been what we call today copy editing.  Perkins discovered and edited Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Margerie Kinnan Rawlings and James Jones. These were his five key principals, the fundamentals he preached to his authors:

1. Generalizations are no use—give  one specific thing and let the action say it.

 2. When you have people talking, you have a scene. You must interrupt with explanatory paragraphs, but shorten them as much as you can. Dialogue is action.

 3. Don’t explain too much. You must explain, but trust your own narrative and dialogue.

 4. Intensify what actually is there. It is largely a matter of compression. (This is often part of the revision process).

 5. You can’t know a book until you come to the end of it, and then all the rest must be modified by that.

 IMAGE: Merritt Parkway, Copyright James LePore, 2010

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Start With A Name


The Myth of Naming In Fiction

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
 by any other name would smell as sweet. Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

My Basic Premise

There are no ideas or emotions unless first there is a human being (Character 1) who thinks something or feels something. That human being cannot exist of course without context, that is, time and place. Character 1 must be placed in the world (or a world if you’re writing fantasy or sci-fi) at some point in time as we know it. Action does not necessarily follow. Another human being (Character 2) must first be added to the context, someone present, past or future, who has done or said something that motivates Character 1 to act.

What I Do

I start with a name. I know this sounds crazy, but getting the right name for my central character somehow triggers the mysterious process of writing a novel or a story. I suppose that starting with a place, like a medieval castle or a colony on Mars, would work as well, but you will quickly need a person, a person who feels and thinks. That person will have to have a name. The story, for me, is in the name.

Let’s say Character 1 is Jane Scardino. The first thing that comes to mind is that her fiends call her Scar. Does she have a scar somewhere on her body? Maybe. Will it be integral to her story? Maybe. Does she like her name? Is she Italian? I digress, but perhaps you see what I mean.

What does Jane look like? Is she young, old, beautiful? What is she wearing? Let’s say she’s in her mid-forties, worrying about her fading beauty and not happy to be so vain. She’s wearing something comfortable, but fashionable, yes, attractive, a black high-collared sweater, black slacks, funky shoes decorated with faux gems and sparkling rhinestone (or are they diamond?) earrings. Vanity wins, it seems.

What is Jane doing? Perhaps she’s getting ready for work, putting those earrings on, thinking about her mother’s boyfriend, who she’s worried is stealing her mother’s money. Yesterday she saw her mom going into the bank with Harry, her charming, silver-haired, Cadillac-driving beau. Jane is going to see a lawyer after work to talk about this, a lawyer she met at work last week who asked her out. She had declined, but why then did she pick him?

I think I might have the beginning of a sory here, a story that sarted with a name, a name that somehow has a story in it.

Shakespeare was talking about things, not people. The names of things are not their essence. But could Romeo Montegue and Juliette Capulet have gone down in history as John and Jane Smith? We’ll never know, but something tels me the answer is no.

Image: Asian Woman/NYC/Red, Jim LePore, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

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The Jersey Myth

The Jersey Myth: Why I Set A Large Swath of Blood of My Brother in New Jersey

New Jersey is not a state anymore. It has moved into the realm of myth, of places that may or may not have once existed but now live only in the imagination, imbued by the popular culture with grotesquely exaggerated or even other-worldly qualities, like Atlantis or Oz or Hades. Just as Alabama or West Virginia, beautiful states with great people, have been stereotyped as backward or even racist, New Jersey is now the land of Jersey Shore buffoons.

It’s not, of course, but what is it, really? That’s a question that can only be answered subjectively, by one New Jerseyite at a time. To me, it’s the ultimate experiment in socially and economically diverse living. Black people, brown people, light brown people, white people, yellow people, rich people, poor people, professional people, blue collar people, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, they’re all in Jersey—often in one town—all fighting to survive, to get or keep their piece of the American dream, to make it through the day, the day filled with traffic, high taxes, tacky strip malls, DMV lines and highway tolls everywhere. To these people, the Jersey shore is a place to breathe the salt air, feel the sun on their faces and swim in the ocean, not the clubs in Seaside Heights and the creepy-crawly rental unit that Snooki, et al, live in.

All of which brings me to what I call the Jersey ethic, the set of moral principles that define the typical Jersey guy or gal. They are gritty, they have to be. See above. They are loyal. (I am having dinner next week with friends that I made fifty years ago). They are not arrogant. Life is too hard in Jersey, even if you’ve accomplished a lot. They are generous. (Most of their taxes go to other states). They understand what it is to be down and out. (They’ve been there, or their neighbor has, or their best friend). They have a sense of humor. (They have to, or they’d go crazy). Most of all, they are tough. They are fighters. You can only push them so far before they push back very hard. (There are kids from my neighborhood growing up in Newark that I still have bad dreams about).

These are the qualities that I envisioned the central characters of Blood of My Brother having. To avenge the execution-style murder of a close friend, with law enforcement seemingly your enemy, takes a certain ethic, a set of principles that include grit and humility and the courage to fight back, in short the Jersey ethic, the real one, not the one on television or in the mainstream media. Setting the novel in New Jersey was not a hard decision for me. It’s where I’m from, and it’s about the people I know best.

 

 

 

 

Image: City Walkers, James LePore 2002

 

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Angels and Archangels

“Growth comes by shocks. We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out that archangels may come in.”  Emerson.

I read my first novel when I was fourteen, The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins. Swept away by the sheer adventure of it, I began reading two or three novels a week, most of them purchased off the rotating rack at the corner candy store. I read whatever looked interesting, including things like Johnny Got His Gun, Catch 22, Exodus, Alas Babylon, On The Beach, Hawaii and much more, both good and bad, sublime and ridiculous.

In 1982 my father died after a twelve month struggle with lung cancer. I was practicing law then, but still reading novels at pretty much the same rate, although by then I had discovered stores where only books were sold. My response to my father’s sickness and death was to write a novel, which I titled That Archangels May Come In. The experience was cathartic of course, but the interesting thing to me, looking back, was that I chose to tell a long story (about a fictional young lawyer losing his father to lung cancer) as the means of that catharsis. Why write a novel? Because, I realized, novels had become as much a part of me as my skeletal system, they were the bones of my intellectual and imaginative life.

Archangels was badly written. One professional reviewer said that it was predictable and cliched, and he was being kind. But it was a start. It got me thinking. I wanted to write a good novel, I wanted what was in my bones to appear on the printed page, the published printed page. But how to do this while at the same time fighting to make a living in the real world, the world where first novels are million-to-one shots and where kids have to eat every day and mortgages have to be paid every month? The answer: wait, plan, do your job, pay your bills, and when the time comes, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger, to let your angels go so that archangels may come in.

Growth comes in shocks, as Emerson puts it, bursts that seem sudden but that if we examine them we see have really been building for years. Think of divorce, a radical change that obviously doesn’t happen overnight. Radical change, I believe, will happen. Why not get ahead of it? Why not shape it rather than letting it shape you? What is it your heart has been telling you it wants you to do? Answer that question and then make a plan, and then execute that plan. You’ll be surprised at the good things that happen, at the angels who come along to catch you, when you leap into the unknown.

Image: Fortune’s Child, Jim LePore

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C.S. Lewis

“God doesn’t necessarily want us to be happy. He wants us to love and be loved. He wants us to grow up. We think our nursery and all our toys are the whole wide world. But something must drive us out of our nursery into the world of others. And that something is suffering.” C.S. Lewis

Image: Winter Morning, Jim LePore, 2009

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