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    The Last Novel

    Fitzgerald died before his masterpiece-in the making, The Last Tycoon, could be finished 5th month of F. Scott Fitzgerald reading challenge, 5th novel, The Last Tycon (1941). F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first of five novels, This Side of Paradise, turned 100 in 2020 and new “Collector’s Editions” came out from his old publisher Scribner, now part of Simon & Schuster. The more likely motivation for the new editions, however, is that the brilliant and lucrative Gatsby now has slipped into the public domain, as of January 1, and Scribner understandably wanted one last cash grab. Everyone and his brother is publishing The Great Gatsby for 2021 and some are putting out…

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    Tender Is the Night

    It May Not Be as Great as Gatsby, but Fitzgerald’s 4th Novel Ain’t Shabby 4th month of F. Scott Fitzgerald reading challenge, 4th novel, Tender Is the Night (1934). F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first of five novels, This Side of Paradise, turns 100 this year and new “Collector’s Editions” are out from his old publisher Scribner, now part of Simon & Schuster. The more likely motivation for the new editions, however, is that the brilliant and lucrative Gatsby now slips into the public domain, as of January 1, and Scribner understandably wanted one last cash grab. Everyone and his brother is publishing The Great Gatsby for 2021 and it seems half…

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    Covid Daze

    First today’s big event was canceled, then today’s big event was canceled Today was the big day. Twice. This was the public start of the fabulous Bizarre Bazaar in Richmond, Va. Or it was until it was canceled for the coronavirus. Understandable, of course. These days, it’s as impractical to hold a massive Christmas show as to go on a cruise ship and kiss all the passengers. Still, we miss it. We’ve been bringing books and such to the Bizarre Bazaar since we were first invited in 2006, the year my Topsail Island: Mayberry by the Sea came out. (If you’re counting, this would have been our 15th show.) We…

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    GATSBY!

    GATSBY! More than Merely Great There aren’t enough superlatives for Fitzgerald’s third novel 3rd month of F. Scott Fitzgerald reading challenge, 3rd novel, The Great Gatsby (1925) This is the big one, of course, the novel judged the best American work of the entire 20th century (and the 2nd best only to Joyce’s Ulysses among all English language works), the novel everyone from teens to their English teachers to their grandparents adores. This is The Great Gatsby. I had only ever read two of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels. But his first, This Side of Paradise, turns 100 this year and new “Collector’s Editions” of all five are out from his…

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    Tell Them What It Means to You

    Remembering my father (Bob McAllister, upper photo) and his brother (Warren “Bud” McAllister), World War II veterans, on this #VeteransDay. My father enlisted in the Army Air Corps (forerunner to the Air Force) right out of high school, but the war was ending by the time he was shipped to the Pacific. He ended up seeing more action on the group’s basketball team, which won the Far Eastern championship. Dad, who died nine years ago just short of 84, always said his 7-years-older brother was the true hero. Indeed, Bud, shown here in 1943, was a bomber pilot for the Eighth Air Force, whose perilous missions were flown over Nazi…

  • Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    7 Quick Thoughts on FSF’s Overlooked ‘Beautiful and Damned’

    Fitzgerald’s second novel slipped through the cracks— but led to brilliance ahead 2nd month of F. Scott Fitzgerald reading challenge, 2nd novel, The Beautiful and Damned (1922) Yes, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a novel with a soap opera title, The Beautiful and Damned. (It’s not a soap opera, though I suspect more than a few in 1922 were surprised to see “Damned” in a title.) Didn’t know of this book? I suspect most of us at least know OF the legendary writer’s startling debut (This Side of Paradise), obviously we know of his classic and near-classics (novels 3 and 4, The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night, respectively), and…

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  • Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    4 Thoughts as Fitzgerald’s “Paradise” Turns 100

    A first novel still perplexing and astonishing— and even prescient 1st month of F. Scott Fitzgerald reading challenge, 1st novel, This Side of Paradise (1920) “Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while,” begins This Side of Paradise, and we are off and running. Paradise turns 100 this year and, not surprisingly, this calls for a new “Collector’s Edition” of F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s first and indeed all his five novels (well, 4½) by his old publisher Scribner, now part of Simon & Schuster. The 100th anniversary of a great author’s first work is certainly cause for celebration, though it seems…

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  • Weekly Blog,  Writing & Publishing

    Book Signings in the Age of Covid

    Yesterday I was to have a book signing of Hatteras Island at a local Barnes & Noble. Late September signings are fun. They bring in a lot of people, for sales and also conversation, now that summer is winding down. Earlier this month it was canceled, though, “due to covid 19,” said the email, which added: “We are not sure when we will be able to host events again at this time.” Join the crowd. Last month, I lost an Outer Banks bookstore signing. Then four days ago came word that the large, 4-1/2-day Bizarre Bazaar Christmas show in Richmond officially was off this year. For the first year since…

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    ‘Saps’ Remembered

    Today’s page of tributes for the late, great Bill Millsaps Today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch has a fine page of tributes from some who worked for the late, great Bill Millsaps, the legendary sports editor who became managing editor, then executive editor. He died late Friday at 77. Here’s mine (you can see the whole page below): Some in the news department looked down on sports writers, confiding condescendingly that they worked in “the toy department.” Saps dissuaded the bigots. For one thing, the guy could write. Sheesh, could he write. Beautiful, straightforward, non-pretentious prose that told the story precisely and artfully. But he would prove at least as valuable as a…