What makes a good book?

“What do you think makes for a ‘good’ book?… Is it too subjective to define or are there specific and universal elements that make up a ‘good’ book? How can you pull the reader in rather than push them away?”
From a thread on Writers’ Cafe.

Obviously, tastes are subjective, be it about food, a novel, or whatsoever. Some judge a book by its literary merit, others by how engrossing or memorable it is. Writers and others interested in storytelling look for unifying elements in stories we (the generic readers) like.

In his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer, Dwight V. Swain, a writer and lecturer on writing, tried to answer a related question: “What is the source of readers’ satisfaction with a story?”

According to Swain, a story is a record of how somebody deals with danger. And if it is told properly, it hooks us, because we are curious about other people’s troubles. A story starts rolling when a change plunges a character into jeopardy. Change causes fear, fear creates tension. And readers like to worry.

So, tension created at the beginning, builds up and intensifies in the middle of the story (all these turns and twists cause complications, to which characters must respond). Excited by the danger, we are tense and eager. The escalating tension carries us through most of the story. At the climax, it is focused sharply.


Is keeping readers’ tension sufficient to be counted as a “good” story? According to Swain, while excitement keeps readers turning pages, it doesn’t constitute satisfaction.
Readers need resolution, that part of a story that comes after climax, where the hero demonstrates that he deserves to win. There, fear is dissipated and the accumulated tension is released. Finally the hero is satisfied and happy. He/she can relax, and so can the reader.

I can think of classics and modern successful novels that don’t follow this pattern (e.g. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and of blockbusters and bestsellers that do follow this version of “hero’s journey”, but I’m not going to dwell on examples and counter-examples, because I think that Swain’s reasoning as to “Why this is so?” is way more interesting.

So, according to Swain, we turn to fiction for encouragement and reassurance, and in particular to experience through a story what we believe in but not necessarily encounter in our daily life. One of the things we yearn to see is a relation between “what we do” (the cause) and “how we fare” (the effect) and demonstrations of individual worth and individual reward. If a resolution happens due to accident or coincidence, many readers will feel cheated, because they’d rather like to see an outcome where man (the book is from 1965!) masters fate. Personally, I don’t feel that way – I wouldn’t mind if the Death Star was blown by some quirky accident, but let’s return to Swain’s arguments. First, we worry about the hero, gradually we are shown why he is worthy, then we take part in his triumph. Seeing the protagonist rewarded feels good, because it contributes to our sense of control and security, reaffirms the wishful thinking that a cause-effect relationship exists between deed and reward. Yet, seeing the courageous hero rewarded and the ruthless and selfish villain punished isn’t enough.

Fiction is a venue for escape from the everyday reality, from not being in control, from feeling inconsequential and unable to challenge the laws laid down by men, nature, and practicality. In life we are wary of change. In fiction we seek danger and boldness, and are turned off by a mundane situation and powerless characters. A story that satisfies readers’ emotional needs is populated with characters that fascinate us, characters whose experiences we share as they challenge the impossible (wizards, vampires…), the unattainable (hot twenty-something self-made billionaires…), the forbidden (serial-killers, pedophiles…), or the disastrous (raging nature, on Earth or beyond…). Reading a good story, we take part in an adventure we’d never attempt in life. While we expand our horizons through seeing different worlds through the eyes of heroes and villains, we also satisfy repressed desires and emotional hunger without risking anything.

Back to the initial question – what is a good story? I think that an answer is too subjective to define. But the aspects described above make a story widely appealing.

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Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher

“I’ve spent so many years not telling the story of Harrison and me having an affair on the first Star Wars movie that it’s difficult to know exactly how to tell it now. I suppose I’m writing this because it’s forty years later and whoever we were then – superficially at least – we no longer are now.”
From The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Forty years is a blink in terms of intergalactic travel, but on Earth, most people were not born when the first Star Wars movie was released (the world population has grown from about 4.2 billion in 1977 to about 7.4 billion). Still, listening to George Lucas and the movie’s actors reminiscing about casting and filming at the movie’s 40th anniversary celebration, it seemed that only a few years have passed. And when Harrison Ford smiles, despite the lined face, Han Solo comes to life once again. Yet, there was a big difference – Carrie Fisher did not take her rightful place on the stage with Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew. She was remembered, but the heartfelt tribute from George Lucas did not bring back Princess Leia’s face and voice.

Nothing can do that. Movies, books, none of them is a substitute for the living person. Even the memoir Carrie Fisher had written shortly before she passed away gives only a glimpse into what she experienced as a young actress who became an iconic princess:

“… I’ve spent the lion’s share of my life, starting at nineteen and continuing forty years on jauntily in the present, being as much as myself as Princess Leia. Answering questions about her, defending her, fed up with being mistaken for her, overshadowed by her, struggling with my resentment of her, making her my own, finding myself, keeping company with her, loving her…”

She wrote about being so insecure at the beginning of the filming of the first Star Wars, that she pretended to like Princess Leia’s hairdo:

“What do you think of it?” George asked me.
Now, remember, I hadn’t lost the requisite ten pounds and I thought any minute they’d notice and fire me before the film even started.
So, I replied, “I love it!”

And on being a girl in a dominantly male environment:

“…I was essentially the only girl at this party, and it would be more entertaining to have the only girl at a party completely off-her-ass drunk than not…
They kept pushing me to have a drink, and finally the people pleaser in me took over and I agreed to let one of the crew get me one.”

She answered the question “Why she was writing?”:

There were two reasons that I wrote the diaries, the first one being that I’d always written, since about twelve. It seemed to calm me, getting anything that might be chaotic behind the eyes onto the page in front of me where it could do me less harm…
The second reason I wrote them was that I couldn’t talk to Harrison. Basically about anything, but especially about the entity that was “us” – not that there actually was such a thing…”

Frankly addressed the fame that came so unexpected:

“Fame can be incredibly intense, and of course none of us had any idea that anything like this would ever happen…Suddenly this little movie needed no promotion. But because no one could ever have anticipated that, we ended up doing the junket anyway, which became a definition of overkill.”

Talked about money issues:

“To be sure, though, I had a considerable amount of money in my early twenties. Wow! Then I didn’t have to think about such things. I could pay someone to make sure my bills were paid and my money was locked up tight and under no immediate threat of theft…
Two decades and a pilfering business manager later, I was out of money.”

And what she did to earn more when it became needed:

When I was initially approached about going to Comic-con, the giant comic book convention, I said, “I wouldn’t be caught dead at one of those has-been roundups.” But, as it turns out, I’ve been caught alive at those roundups often enough to wish I was dead.

Obviously, there is much more in the memoir, but for the 40th-anniversary I want to return to the quote in the beginning of the post. The Princess Leia we knew was a young woman. Can we accept that she also might have changed – superficially at least – during these forty years?
In Carrie Fisher’s own words:

“One little girl came by who’d been told she was going to meet Princess Leia; Imagine her excitement, that is, until she saw the new me.
‘No!’ she wailed, squirming her head away from the sight of me. I want the other Leia, not the old one.”

But the actress learned to accept it all, and sometimes was even grateful to her fans. Here is an example of a fan’s comment and Carrie’s response:

“Anyway – I wanted to tell you.” He shrugs, then adds, “Thanks for my childhood,” and walks off. Wow, what a thing to be given credit for, to be thanked for! Because he didn’t mean his whole childhood – he meant the good bits. The parts he escaped to. I’m grateful for those good bits he shared with me.”

May The Force Be With You !

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A Romantic Moment on a Yacht

During the spring break, we visited Maryland, focusing on the northern Chesapeake Bay, between Havre de Grace and the capital, Annapolis.


Havre de Grace

The tourist season has not yet started in Havre de Grace. The views and the peacefulness of the waterfront more than compensated for few closed restaurants and an ice-cream shop.

A view to Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay:

The boardwalk on the waterfront:

I have read about the Little Free Libraries, but it was the first time I saw one. I wanted to add Initial Conditions to the collection, but of course, I didn’t have a copy with me.


Surprise

A blue house on a local road near Aberdeen drew our attention:

A big sign read:

Inside, we discovered a sparkling space with minimalistic furniture and decor, and… flavorful, delicious food!


Annapolis

Historic old Annapolis was a pleasant place to start a day in.

We passed the governor’s mansion:

and a reminder that taxes benefit everyone:

Boats and water have a relaxing effect:

Especially when glimpsing a couple having a romantic moment on a yacht:

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The Real Jane Austen???

“In the popular imagination, Jane Austen spent nearly all of her life sitting in a parsonage, working on her embroidery, gossiping about the neighbours and writing novels confined to ‘three or four families in a country village’.”
From The Real Jane Austen, by Paula Byrne

A popular imagination is an interesting source – for who can deny that there are millions of people that have heard about Jane Austen, but never read her books, nor watched the movies based on them. If they know that writers usually read a lot, they might expect the lady to be well-read. And if they happen to hear that Austen described many balls and naval officers, the streets of Bath and grand houses like Pemberley, they can expect her to also travel a bit. But what if someone is suddenly interested to find out the “real” Jane Austen? After reading the Wikidepia article, s/he might want to learn more about Austen’s daily life and the sources she drew her information from. Can The Real Jane Austen, by Paula Byrne, live up to the task?

My impression is that Ms. Byrne had focused on details rather than draw a cohesive image of the legendary Jane Austen. Her agenda, it seems, was composed of two goals:
One was to dispel the portrait of Jane Austen fostered by her family, a portrait of a woman who lived a life of “of usefulness, literature, and religion” in an enclosed, sequestered world. Since this is not the first Austen biography that I have read, I know that this task has been achieved previously.

Byrne’s second goal was way more ambitious. Throughout the book she tries to convince the reader that Austen was a free-spirited career woman. Or, in Ms. Byrne’s own words “… the consummate professional, the woman prepared to devote her life, and to sacrifice her prospects of marriage, to her art as a novelist.”

In my opinion, the evidence that Ms. Byrne has brought to argue for her image of Jane Austen is highly speculative. Some of it is based on recollections of family members who barely knew Austen. Even more troubling is the “evidence” drawn from a modern interpretation of Austen’s novels. An example of the latter is the biographer’s statement that Eliza (Jane Austen’s cousin and later also her sister-in-law) “was a muse for Jane Austen”. This speculative assertion, however, does not rely on anything Austen herself communicated about Eliza; it was deduced just from the fact that Austen dedicated her youthful story Love and Friendship to Eliza and maybe used details about Eliza to bring to life a secondary character like Mary Crawford. Yet, if Ms. Byrne is right and Eliza was indeed “Austen’s muse”, why did Eliza’s influence not extend to the more prominent characters like Elizabeth Bennet and Anne Elliot?

Another assertion that I found puzzling is that Austen had a very modern openness about sex. The biographer wrote that “Jane Austen was certainly not prudish about sex”, but how does she know that? We can hypothesize whether Austen spoke freely about sex in her private correspondence, but both “yes” and “no” are just guesses. Maybe such letters existed, but none of them survived. In the absence of supporting evidence, either letters or recollections from those who knew Jane Austen, the biographer supports her conjecture using a very speculative interpretation of Austen novels:

“Jane Austen also wrote about woman’s sexual pleasure. In the character of Lydia Bennet she presents us with a lusty teenage girl who enjoys sex before marriage with Wickham with very little concern for the consequences…
The image of the torn dress as a symbol of sexual disgrace is also used in Pride and Prejudice. Lydia sends a request to her maid that she should ‘mend a great slit in my worked muslin gown’. We do not have to be Freudians to recognize a shocking image of her sexual transgression. Lydia’s “slit” can’t be mended, except by forced marriage, which is exactly what happens, though no one is fooled by the ‘patched-up business’.”

Okay, I’m not Freudian, nor do I belong to any other school of psychology. For me a passage about a careless teenager who wants her torn dress to be mended is not a proof that Austen wrote about sex. I’d like to see some solid evidence for that hypothesis, which is peddled as if it were a fact.

The last point I want to question is the assertion that Austen made a conscious choice to promote her writing career at the expense of matrimony. The biographer tells us that Austen “did not want her voice to be stifled by marriage. She was, I believe, happy to remain single.” Again, this claim is not grounded in Austen’s correspondence. Apparently, Austen “did not envy the women of her acquaintance who were married and exhausted by husband and children”. Let’s stop and think for a moment: is there a man or a woman who wants to be in the shoes of those exhausted women? It is quite plausible that Austen dreaded the reality of giving birth year after year, or that she feared the possibility of dying in childbirth. Do such natural feelings imply that a woman does not want to have a family? The biographer names men that Jane Austen rejected. But did Austen love (or at least liked enough to tie herself with) any of them? There is no indication that she refused a man she loved in order not to have children. There is no evidence to support the claim that she was a happy spinster, who did not regret Tom Lefroy or whoever had inspired the immortal Mr. Darcy.

I was not convinced by Byrne’s conclusion that Austen was happy not to have children. The biographer argues that Austen’s letters reveal her great love of children’s company, even those who were not related to her. We can only speculate whether she pined for her own kid or was one of those people who prefer to play with the children of others. I think that Austen wanted a family but only with the right man.
Byrne writes: “Love of children is often a guide to characters in the novels. Mr Knightly forgives Emma’s wrongdoing against Mr Martin when he sees her holding her baby niece in her arms…”. Captain Wentworth watches Anne Elliot when she kneels before injured Charles Musgrove, but when Charles’ stout two-years-old brother comes in and fastens himself upon Anne, Wentworth silently removes the troublesome toddler from her back.
Can a writer who did not care about having a man and children describe with such tenderness both Knightly’s and Wentworth’s response to a woman tending to a little child? For me, this is Austen’s cry for a real partner, a man whose understanding and emotions would be similar to those of Knightly and Wentworth.

Reading The Real Jane Austen, I found a plethora of details about Jane Austen and her family, their attitude toward slave trade, her love of shopping, what different nieces thought about the famous aunt and much more. The biographer depicted a witty and talented woman who “revised and improved and honed” her craft until she became a self-assured professional writer. She showed that Austen wanted both money and approbation, and that she was a dedicated follower of fashion. However, the portrayal of Jane Austen as a modern woman was as unconvincing as the claim that in her novels Austen wrote about sex.

To sum up, the biography tackled various facets of Jane Austen. Some of them were interesting to explore, but in all, they did not combine to form a portrait of the genius that Austen was.

Bonus:
Those interested in speculations about possible causes of Jane Austen’s premature death will be better served with the CNN article, “Jane Austen poisoned with arsenic? Not so fast, experts say”.
Those who prefer a more sentimental and visual approach (and don’t mind Jane Austen speaking with an American accent), might enjoy the movie Becoming Jane.


Image at the top – from the movie Becoming Jane
Jane Austen’s writing box – image from The British Library Board

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Forward and backward

“It was possible to read the story two ways: Front to back, the heron returned to his heron wife and the world of the sky. Back to front, he stayed with his one true love on earth.”
From The Third Angel, by Alice Hoffman

marc_chagall
Despite the citation from The Third Angel, this post is about another book (which will remain anonymous), or rather about how my perception has changed while reading it. A friend of mine, slightly surprised that I never heard about the author, lent me a copy. The dull, grayish cover did not scream “literary fiction”, it hissed the words like a snake coiling around its dazzled pray. I mumbled something about being quite busy, but we both knew it was a lame excuse for not reading the less than two-hundred pages.

One of the characters is theoretical physicist from CERN, the book owner told me. Keeping to myself what I thought about literary fiction tackling the “deep meaning” of high-energy physics and cosmology, I reluctantly agreed to give it a try.

If the cover were a dish, unappetizing would be an understatement. And the blurb at the back suggested a torture worse than Vogon poetry. Its first paragraph started with a date. That morning, the author had yet a few editorial questions to answer before the book went to print; he passed away in the night. The paragraph ended with a pendulum (I guess a metaphorical one), that never goes back. The following two paragraphs extolled the author’s swansong. Unlike the insipid front cover, the text was sprinkled with vivid superlatives with no apparent restrain. The fourth paragraph was short and quite chilling. It was the author’s seventh book, which he wrote during a year he was battling to keep expressing things he still wished to write, before dying at age of 52.
Any wonder that the book lay unopened until I got a gentle nudge?

I started to read it yesterday and finished today. I’m not going to discuss the story, but how I felt before and after reading it. At the beginning I was weary, ready for self-pity entwined with plethora of metaphors, gore mixed with philosophizing about the meaning of this all. The first few pages evoked the ridiculous rather than the ominous, and, thankfully, without foreshadowing death. I kept-reading not because the story was fast-paced, but because the fluidity of the writing, the places the book took me, the characters that survived without becoming washed-out automatons. Reading on, I was mesmerized by the evolving drama, by the author’s ability to introduce funny (and not-so-funny) characters, without BS or bitterness, without overt references to what was happening in his life. Closing the book, I regretted that it was so short.

A question that still lingers in my mind is whether I would have read the book differently if I knew nothing about the author. My expectations would have been different. The unwillingness to read the book was based on the cover, the blurb, and an assumption that a literary work by a dying author must revolve around the ugliness and the futility of the situation (even if the setting is entirely fictional). I was wrong. The story did not read like a swansong, a farewell studded with wisdom and replete with masterly articulated gore. Closing that book, there was a sense of catharsis even though there was no climax, and the story ended without heroics, love did not triumph, nor was it ruled out. How the author achieved that mental cleaning-up without evoking any “great feeling”? Maybe because the story felt distilled and honest, without brouhaha and unnecessarily frills. People remained who they were, and life went on for the survivors. And despite the physicists’ experiments at CERN, the world did not end.


Stained-glass window image from Wikipedia. Pendulum image from Wikipedia.

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The Return

flamenco

The Return“Concha and her friends flippantly called the new freedoms for women “liberation and lingerie” because of the exciting new undergarments that they now sometimes saw advertised in the newspapers. Having moved out of rural poverty herself when she married Pablo, she wanted to see Mercedes improve her life, too, and had been pleased at the prospect of her daughter growing up in a society full of opportunity. With women now in professions such as law and medicine and reaching positions of power and influence, Concha hoped that life for Mercedes would have more to it than polishing glasses and lining them up neatly along the bar. Though Mercedes seemed to think of nothing but dance, her mother regarded it as something of a childish pastime.”
From The Return by Victoria Hislop

What can be more normal than a mother fretting about her teenage daughter obsession with dancing when she should be thinking about her future? Or the mother having premonitions that her son, a rising matador, would be “gored to death” in a bullfighting ring? Barring incurable diseases and natural disasters, such fears are often a parent’s worst worries. Unfortunately for the Ramirez family, in 1930s Granada, they were the least Concha had to cope with.

In a country torn between “protesting workers who felt their interests were not being represented” and conservatives “who yearned for a return to rule by the wealthy and privileged,” Concha’s two eldest sons drifted to the opposite sides of the conflict. Antonio, the teacher, was a moderate liberal. Ignacio, the matador, adopted the attitudes of landowners and other wealthy patrons of bullfighting who “loathed the new liberalism, blaming it for a wave of permissive behavior that they found hard to stomach.”

The rift between Antonio and Ignacio grew along with the hostilities between the Republicans’ and Nationalists’ forces, but it was Concha’s youngest son, who became the Civil War’s first causality in Ramirez family. Emilio was a shy musician who spent his time working in his parents’ bar and admiring the poet and playwright Lorca. While his parents “turned a blind eye to Emilio’s homosexuality,” in Granada ruled by the Nationalists, a man reported to be a homosexual was in a dire danger. Emilio was arrested without legal warrant few weeks after Lorca was shot. He was sentenced to thirty years.

For a while life went on. Antonio did not belong to any party, Ignacio, supported the winners, and the rest of the family shied away from politics. But, air raids did not distinguish between supporters and foes and “Though Granada was in Nationalist hands, there remained a strong undercurrent of support for the legal Republic government, and there were many people prepared to resist the tyranny under which they were now forced to live. This meant that the atrocities of war were not only perpetrated by supporters of Franco. Murders of people suspected on collaboration with Franco’s troops were commonplace, and there were frequently signs of torture to be found on their corpses.”

I won’t tell how Antonio and Ignacio fared, whether Mercedes followed her passion and became a flamenco dancer, what happened to Concha and her husband. It took me several weeks between starting and completing Victoria Hislop’s novel. The Return unfolds slowly as it meanders between the stories of the various members of Ramirez family, especially Mercedes’ quest to find the gitano (Roma) guitarist, she fell in love with. While Granada is the focal point of the novel, Mercedes’ journey stretches from Almeria in the south to Bilbao in the north. Without seeing a battlefield, she faces repeated bombing of civilians, the rampant hunger, the arbitrariness of death. Amid all the horror, she also encounters small glimmers of kindness.

I recommend the The Return, although it was a very slow read.
A caveat: the beginning and the end of the book are taking place in modern Granada. I don’t know why the author started the story with two boring Englishwomen. I understand their fascination with flamenco, but their problematic relations with their men felt superfluous to the rest of the story.

flamenco

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A new message of hope

Starwars: Princess Leia and R2D2

“Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re My Only Hope”
Princess Leia, Star Wars: A New Hope.

It is customary to begin a new year with new resolutions, and even make them public to add a little bit more pressure to follow them through. What follows are not resolutions, writing advice or reflections about scholarly achievements. This post is about two great stories which will celebrate this year, respectively, their fortieth and the twentieth anniversaries.

Since Star Wars and Harry Potter have been studied, analyzed and imitated ad nauseam, I’ll mention only a couple of similarities between the stories:

  • A fantastic world that appeals to millions of kids and to the kid in everybody. The “world” can be as large as a galaxy far, far away, with its thousands of inhabited worlds, or the Diagon Alley in London and the Hogwarts Castle in Scotland.
  • Young storytellers, who still remembered what was it like being a child. George Lucas and J.K. Rowling started to work on their stories in their twenties. The first installment in each series was released when the creator was in his/her early thirties.

    “It’s the flotsam and jetsam from the period when I was twelve years old,” says Director George Lucas, 33. “All the books and films and comics that I liked when I was a child. The plot is simple —good against evil—and the film is designed to be all the fun things and fantasy things I remember. The word for this movie is fun.” For once, a director is right about his own work. Star Wars has brought fun back to the movies and glowingly demonstrated they still can make ’em like they used to…
    Says Lucas: “It’s not a film about the future. Star Wars is a fantasy, much closer to the Brothers Grimm than it is to 2001. My main reason for making it was to give young people an honest, wholesome fantasy life, the kind my generation had. We had westerns, pirate movies, all kinds of great things. Now they have The Six Million Dollar Man and Kojak. Where are the romance, the adventure, and the fun that used to be in practically every movie made?”
    From Time magazine, May 30, 1977.

    “In an age of Nintendo and Teletubbies (of which Jessica is a fan), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone reads like a children’s book written 20 years ago. Aimed at the 9-13 age group, it is essentially a boarding school novel, a setting which has become unfashionable. “It had to be a boarding school to sustain the fantasy,” Rowling says. “He had to go somewhere that’s an enclosed world to have his adventures. Kids are incredibly powerless because everything is determined for them, so a rich fantasy life in which they do have power is almost inevitable. And a middle-class boarding school is a world where they are free of their parents. Being an orphan is very liberating in a book. I think it’s a common fantasy of children that somehow these parents aren’t their parents.”
    From “Tales from a single mother”, The Sunday Times, 29 June 1997.

    Both Lucas and Rowling stressed the fun aspect of their stories. Looking back from the vantage point of 2017, I think that the lasting influence of Star Wars and Harry Potter is not just a matter of being fun and offering escapism. Not even the triumph of good over evil. I’ve seen many movies and read even more books with all the “right” elements. Some of them I enjoyed (like the hilarious Back to the Future movies and Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series), but none made a similar impact.
    I think that the difference is that Star Wars succeeded to make its message of hope believable. As The Times article had said almost forty years ago:

    “That innocence and that feeling for romance are what make Star Wars so fresh, so much fun and, finally, so fantastic. Lucas believed everything he put on film, and somewhere under the celluloid, he is Luke Skywalker — out to slay the dragon, rescue the princess and find the Holy Grail…
    Despite the talent and the money arrayed against it, Star Wars has one clear advantage: it is simple, elemental, and therefore unique. It has a happy ending, a rarity these days…
    But wait! Darth Vader has escaped, cloaked in evil and eager for revenge, and the Galactic Empire still holds, in chains 1,000 solar systems. What hope have our gallant adventurers against forces so vast and so dark? Another richly imagined universe of hope, obviously, and Lucas is already planning to bring them back in the sequel to Star Wars…”

    Forty years later, I’m tired of sequels to the original Star Wars, and I’m grateful to J.K. Rowling that she saved Harry and his friends from a similar fate.

    What I wish for 2017 is a new message of hope.

    Star Wars: Medal Ceremony

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