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Posts Tagged ‘Sidney Sheldon’

Appreciating Sidney Sheldon

Both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times pay tribute to Sidney Sheldon, the bestselling popular fiction writer who died earlier this week. “Sartre and star fever, side by side: this was Sheldon at his risible but lovable high-low best. He was both literate and lurid, and he made that combination hard to resist,” marvels Janet Maslin. And as for his penchant for self-promotion, “the first, unavoidable view is that Sheldon became an inveterate show-off, seduced by the trappings of wealth and power. The second and kinder one: that he had the warmth of one of his own characters. The party was glamorous, and he wanted his fans to know about it. He did not want their noses pressed to the glass. He wanted them invited in.”

Jonathan Kirsch‘s tribute recognizes that Sheldon’s potboilers aren’t likely to be read 100 years from now, but that wasn’t the author’s aim, anyway, and there’s one way he’ll “live forever”:

Dan Brown may have broken Sheldon’s old record of keeping a book on a bestseller list for 53 weeks, but Brown certainly owes a debt to the man who gave the world so much of what critics have called “good junk reading.” Stripped of their faux history and dubious theology, Brown’s page-turners are rendered in precisely the same kind of dialogue-driven narrative and urgent, one-sentence paragraphs, and ornamented with the same kind of exotic locales and unlikely characters, that can be found in any of Sheldon’s novels.

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Sidney Sheldon Crosses to The Other Side

Admit it: you’ve probably even read, or at least picked up, a Sidney Sheldon novel in your life. The author of bestselling blockbusters like THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT and THE RAGE OF ANGELS – not to mention the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBYSOXER – died Tuesday at the age of 89 of complications from pneumonia. His wife, Alexandra, and his daughter, author Mary Sheldon, were by his side. The LA Times has a full obituary as well.

“I’ve lost a longtime and dear friend,” his publicist, Warren Cowan, said to the AP. “In all my years in this business, I’ve never heard an unkind word said about him.” And while Sheldon could not ever be said to have critical acclaim, his books sold millions and millions of copies. “I try to write my books so the reader can’t put them down,” he explained in a 1982 interview. “I try to construct them so when the reader gets to the end of a chapter, he or she has to read just one more chapter. It’s the technique of the old Saturday afternoon serial: leave the guy hanging on the edge of the cliff at the end of the chapter.” Analyzing why so many women bought his books, he commented: “I like to write about women who are talented and capable, but most important, retain their femininity. Women have tremendous power — their femininity, because men can’t do without it.”