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Well, the financial house of cards built on “securitization” of debt appears to be coming down and no one really knows how bad it will get so I’m going to practice my storytelling/narrative skills for the next week or so. That means reading, not blogging.
I’ve gotten into three authors who really know how to tell a story and anyone interested in learning how to do this—all you design/media/advertising folks—might want to pick up one or all of their books.
Qiu Xialong is my current favorite. He’s done three detective novels, all based in Shanghai, that are magnificent. I’m now reading the first, Death of a Red Heroine. Wonderful characters (Detective Chen is a poet-detective, deeply moral, struggling in a corrupt, money-centered Shanghai culture) and great narrative. He takes you into the rise and fall of classes and people in China—and the social tensions that lie just below the surface.
John Burdett is my second favorite author these days, with his detective series based in Bangkok, Thailand. I spent a lot of time in Thailand in years past and his detective Sonchai and his adventures capture the culture. The story-telling is wonderful and, again, the characters are alive.
All good detective series involve the demi-monde. If you want to read about the underside of San Francisco (yes, it has one), try Vanilla Slim by Bob Armstrong. The characters are drawn wonderfully real and again, great narrative. I met Bob recently in Portland (he was born there, went to school and then the Marines in Vietnam) and he’s funny and fascinating in a William Burroughs kind of way.
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