Last week I offered my thoughts on the book The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions by Rick Moody. In his memoir Moody relates his life story to "The Minister's Black Veil", a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that was included in his Twice Told Tales. I have read some of Hawthorne's stories, but I have never read the entire collection of Twice Told Tales, although I am quite familiar with the title.
As I was reflecting upon Hawthorne's collection of stories I checked out what Wikipedia had to say about Twice Told Tales. The title of the collection comes from a quote in William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John: "Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, / Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man...". This quote made me think of my Friday post where I talked about the stories we are told as children and the stories we tell our children. These tales are told repeatedly and rarely seem to get old.
It has been said that there are no new plots, but only new variations on how to tell the same stories. I think most of us can agree on this basic premise. Yet we continue to read the new books and watch the new movies with rehashing of the old stories that we have heard before. What makes the new telling more interesting is the way the story is told, the characters who are unique, a novel setting of time or place or both, and so many other techniques an inventive writer can use to present the story. The real skill is in telling the old story so that it becomes your own special story that seems new to the hearer.
What kinds of stories do you like to hear over and over again? What twice told tales vex your ear? What are some things you do to make a story unique to your telling of it?
A Review of ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen
One of the books I had scheduled for my Christmas holiday reading list was ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen. I finally got around to reading this book last week and wanted to offer my review of it. This is a book I purchased last year as part of a special book club package and the review that follows is my opinion after having read it.
|Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen|
Here's the story as told on the book jacket:
In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re stranded with no help in sight.
As night falls, the group seeks refuge from the blizzard in the remote village of Kingdom Come, where twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Something terrible has happened in Kingdom Come: Meals sit untouched on tables, cars are still parked in garages. The town’s previous residents seem to have vanished into thin air, but footprints in the snow betray the presence of someone who still lurks in the cold darkness—someone who is watching Maura and her friends.
What I thought about ICE COLD:Days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain ravine. Shocked and grieving, Jane is determined to learn what happened to her friend. The investigation plunges Jane into the twisted history of Kingdom Come, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow. As horrifying revelations come to light, Jane closes in on an enemy both powerful and merciless—and the chilling truth about Maura’s fate.
The jacket blurb sold me on this book and the author delivered the goods. Tess Gerritsen's ICE COLD is quick paced edge-of-your-seat thriller from start to finish. This was a book that I sped through because I was riveted all the way and did not want to put it down. The action is engrossing and the story is engaging. Gerritsen's skill as a writer of suspense is highly evident as she keeps the story moving through realistic dialog and succinct prose that is vivid in the description revealing what is needed to carry the story. The author's background as a doctor is evident in her occasionally gruesome, but frank depictions of wounds, injuries, and medical procedures. Gerritsen takes us to the scene of the action and into the heads of the characters through adept writing.
This is not a novel of exceptional literary value, but it is high caliber professional story-telling in the slickest commercial sense. It's the kind of book that most readers will be able to get into for a diversionary reading experience. Read it now and then see the movie--it's a novel that I would think would be made into a movie. Actually, Gerritsen did such a great job with her writing that I almost feel like I have already seen the movie.
Have you read ICE COLD or any of Tess Gerritsen's other books? Have you seen the TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles which is based in the characters in ICE COLD?
On Wednesday I will have Tina from Life Is Good on my blog as a guest. Be sure to see what she has to say.