Ryan Van Cleave

17 posts
Ryan G. Van Cleave was the 2007-2008 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington at George Washington University. He has taught creative writing and literature at Clemson University, Eckerd College, Florida State University, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as at prisons, community centers, and urban at-risk youth facilities.He lives in Sarasota, FL where he works as a freelance writer, editor, consultant, ghostwriter, and script doctor. He serves as Director of CandR Press, a non-profit literary organization based in Chattanooga, TN.

Book Review: Fun Inc.: Why Gaming Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century by Tom Chatfield

One element of the gaming industry that will surprise some readers is the billions of dollars made by “gold farmers,” people who play online games such as World of Warcraft, and then sell the loot acquired in the game for real-world dollars to other gamers. China alone is estimated to have over a million of these gold farmer players working right now.

Book Review: The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer

Stephen King said that Olen Steinhauer’s spy book, The Tourist, is “the best spy novel I’ve ever read that wasn’t written by John le Carré.” Here’s the good news—The Nearest Exit, a continuation of that same story, is no letdown (though the background gained in reading that first book makes the first 100 pages of this one much more manageable).

Book Review: Chords of Strength by David Archuleta

It’s no surprise that David has musical talent in his DNA. His father is a jazz trumpet player, his mother is a gifted singer, his grandmother sang in TV commercials and acted in a few movies (and was known in Utah as “the little lady with the big voice”) and his grandfather sang in a barbershop quartet. Talk about stacking the genetic deck!

Book Review: My Life with Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

Charles Schulz (1922-2000) started out simply wanting to draw for a living. He never had any sense that these big-headed, small-armed kids he was doodling back in the 1940s would be a staple of newspapers for the next five decades. Indeed, it almost seemed that he repeatedly looked upon his own career with a kind of reverent awe. Part of the appeal of Schulz the man is that even when fame struck, he still seemed amazingly humble.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham

But without a doubt, it’s the series that he began seven years ago, Fables, that has captured the imaginations of so many readers. The premise of this story is clear and simple—familiar characters from fairy tales and folklore escape after an army of creatures led by the mysterious Adversary has come to conquer their home worlds. Where do all these exiled creatures go? New York City, of course.

Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War by Laura Anne Gilman

The first clue that Gilman is not going to zing this story along with Tom Clancy speed is that her Prelude has a pre-Prelude—never a good sign if you’re in the mood for a fast-read airplane book, which so many fantasies are. But the Vin World is rich with vattage and vine, mustus and maturation, such that even non-oenophiles cannot help but feel immersed in a unique world full of a strange richness and beauty.

Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs by Jeni Stepanek

He explains it in his journals as “Whatever it is that a person needs or wants, they understand why that matters, and that is the unfolding of their Heartsong . . . And as we learn in almost every religion or philosophy of goodness, it is in giving that we receive. In sharing our Heartsong with others, it goes out into the world, and somehow, circles back to us.”

The Twelve by William Gladstone

This novel follows the exploits of intellectual and spiritual wunderkind Max Doff who, even as an infant, clearly was set apart from the rest of humanity. He’s destined for greatness along the lines of the Buddha and other prophets. During a near-death experience from a severe case of the flu at age 15, Max has a vision in his euphoric delirium that he can’t quite make sense of yet, but it reveals to him the names of twelve people…

Nobody Move by Denis Johnson

For people who liked Johnson’s recent National Book Award winner Tree of Smoke or his drug-laden 1992 short story collection Jesus’ Son, his latest, Nobody Move, is a real change of pace. Originally published as a four-part serial in Playboy in 2008, this hardboiled noir tale plays with the conventions of thrillers and crime stories, utilizing nearly every stereotype and trick from the arsenal of Dashiell Hammett, Quentin Tarantino, Elmore Leonard, and Raymond Chandler.