Book Review, Crime/Thriller 5 comments on The Girl on the Train – PAULA HAWKINS

The Girl on the Train – PAULA HAWKINS

The Girl on the Train Book Cover The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Riverhead Books (Hardcover)
January 13, 2015
336

Every day, alcoholic divorcee Rachel takes the train from the suburbs into London, pretending to go to a job that she's been long fired from. The train always stops at the same signal, one that lets her take a peek into the old life she once had with ex-husband Tom. She fools herself into avoiding staring at Tom's new life with Anna, the woman he had left her for and began a new family with, by letting her eyes drift to a couple a few houses down, who exhibit the perfect hopeful image of true love. She affectionately calls them Jess and Jason, though those aren't their names. When Meghan, Jess's real identity, goes missing, Rachel thinks she might have seen something, but she can't put the pieces of her memory together. For the first time, she sees her alcoholism as the crutch it really is, costing her not only her sanity but also the clarity around Meghan's disappearance as well.

It’s not enough to be a gripping and jumpy novel. Often, the most successful stories are the ones that remind us of our darkest selves or make us revisit moments in our lives that we thought we had safely left in the past. Good novels make us regurgitate our experiences. We project the nadirs of our existence onto works of art, from a distance at first. If the writing is good and doesn’t distract, we will feel the narrative with every fiber of our bodies.

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Screenplay Review 0 comments on 28 WEEKS LATER – Rowan Joffé

28 WEEKS LATER – Rowan Joffé

28 Weeks Later Book Cover 28 Weeks Later
2007
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Rowan Joffé, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, E. L. Lavigne, Jesus Olmo

Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless the U.S. Army declares the danger past, and American soldiers arrive to restore order and begin reconstruction. Refugees return to British soil, but one of them carries a deadly secret: The virus is not gone and is even more dangerous than before.

Of all the horror genres, I’ve always liked the zombies the best. The prequel to this film, 28 Days Later, directed by British filmmaker Danny Boyle three years prior, was such a big box office hit, that (of course!) Fox queued up its sequel soon after. But when writers and directors change hands, you get very different movies, almost unrecognizable from each other.

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Book Review, Writing Craft/Creativity 0 comments on The War of Art – STEVEN PRESSFIELD

The War of Art – STEVEN PRESSFIELD

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles Book Cover The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield
Psychology, Writing Craft
January 1, 2012
165

"In this powerful, straight-from-the-hip examination of the internal obstacles to success, bestselling author Steven Pressfield shows readers how to identify, defeat, and unlock the inner barriers to creativity. The War of Art is an inspirational, funny, well-aimed kick in the pants guaranteed to galvanize every would-be artist, visionary, or entrepreneur.

There is honor in writing.
But don’t be a one, unless you’re prepared to suffer through years of rejection, financial burden, and critique from peers that make your heart sink to the bottoms of your feet.

Thus, I repeat: There is honor in writing.

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Book Review, Crime/Thriller 1 comment on The Cuckoo’s Calling – ROBERT GALBRAITH

The Cuckoo’s Calling – ROBERT GALBRAITH

The Cuckoo's Calling Book Cover The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith, (J.K. Rowling)
2013
449

Army vet, turned private investigator, Cormoran Strike has just lost his girlfriend and is about to declare bankruptcy, when old acquaintance John Bristow walks into his office. Bristow enlists Strike to look for the murderer of his adopted sister Lula Landry, a supermodel, who months earlier had plunged to her death from her skyscraper apartment in London. Despite the evidence, Bristow refuses to believe it was a suicide. Strike takes the job and together with new assistant Robin (yes, a sidekick named Robin, though it's a female redhead who wears no capes), Strike begins to navigate the world of the rich and famous.

Robert Galbraith put together an enticing cast of characters, rich in complexity and distinct in their agendas. I would not expect otherwise, since Robert Galbraith is actually a pseudonym for none other than Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling (the cat’s been out of the bag for years on that one though, they actually reveal that fact on the back of the cover).

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Screenplay Review 0 comments on The Danish Girl – LUCINDA COXON

The Danish Girl – LUCINDA COXON

The Danish Girl Book Cover The Danish Girl
2015
Tom Hooper
Lucinda Coxon
Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander

The Danish Girl is based on a 2000 novel by David Ebershoff and tells the story of real-life transgender woman Lili Elbe who was born Einar Wegener in the 1800s in Denmark. The film establishes Einar as a successful artist in a loving marriage with Gerda Wegener, a talented painter in her own right, and tracks the emotional and legal challenges as Einar begins her journey to transition, undergoing one of the earliest recorded sex-reassignment surgeries in history.

The telling of such a story comes at an apt time. Too long have trans experiences been marginalized and branded as too risqué or too perverse for mainstream consumption. There are powerful activists reigning the stage to raise awareness today, from Laverne Cox, a well-known cast member of Orange is the New Black to model Geena Rocero (watch her wonderful TED talk!), Hollywood has finally made the decision tell one of the many stories the community has to tell through its mainstream avenues.

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Book Review, Memoir/Biography 0 comments on Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight – M.E. THOMAS

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight – M.E. THOMAS

Confessions of a Sociopath Book Cover Confessions of a Sociopath
M. E. Thomas
Biography & Autobiography
Pan Macmillan
May 23, 2013
288

Drawn from the author's own experiences; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and scientific literature, this is part confessional memoir, part primer for the curious. Written from the point of view of a diagnosed sociopath, it unveils for the very first time these people who are hiding in plain sight.

Ever been in conversation with a total narcissist asshole and wonder “What the hell is going through your head right now?” Confessions of a Sociopath is your chance to peek into the mind of an extremely unsympathetic, self-aggrandizing person.

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Book Review, Contemporary Fiction 0 comments on The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – HARUKI MURAKAMI

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – HARUKI MURAKAMI

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Book Cover The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin
Fiction
Vintage
1997
607

A young man named Toru Okada looks for his wife's missing cat. He finds himself searching the well that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo, and soon encounters mysterious characters.

Books essentially are time capsules. A writer can commune with us from any time period and from any locale. Stories transcend space and time. Sometimes without rhyme or reason. That is the case with Haruki Murakami’s excellent 1994 novel “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.”

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Drama, Screenplay Review 0 comments on Braveheart – RANDALL WALLACE

Braveheart – RANDALL WALLACE

Braveheart Book Cover Braveheart
1995
Mel Gibson
Randall Wallace
Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

A thirteenth century Scottish warrior named William Wallace rallies his countrymen against the English to protect their lands and gain their independence.

Braveheart is one of those films that stays deeply etched in the memory of moviegoers. The 90s churned out some fantastic cinema when technology upped its game and seamlessly married stunt choreography with dramatic storytelling. Mel Gibson directed a rare gem. His movie became one of those films that one had to watch and re-watch.

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Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Drama 0 comments on Small Great Things – JODI PICOULT

Small Great Things – JODI PICOULT

Small Great Things Book Cover Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult
Fiction
Ballantine Books
October 11, 2016
464

The highly anticipated new novel from # 1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult, who "writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships." (The Boston Globe)

Delivery nurse Ruth, a black woman, is given the directive not to touch the newborn baby of white supremacist Turk and his wife Brit. She is shaken by this injustice, for she has lived her life as an upstanding citizen. When the infant goes into cardiac arrest Ruth, being the only available caretaker nearby, takes a split second too long to help save his life. The baby dies at Ruth’s fingertips. Containing his grief from spilling into violence, Turk puts Ruth on trial. She now faces a life behind bars.

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Book Review, Memoir/Biography, Writing Craft/Creativity 2 comments on On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft – STEPHEN KING

On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft – STEPHEN KING

On Writing Book Cover On Writing
Stephen King
Biography & Craft
Simon and Schuster
June 25, 2002
297

Critically lauded writer Stephen King shares his experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

 

Like most book nerds, I was a voracious reader as a child. I reveled in the magical worlds that authors built for me. But that all changed as I grew older and moved across the pond from Germany to California. Narrative adventures took a backseat to acquiring skills in a foreign language. By the time I became a full-grown woman, books had long disappeared from my daily routine. It wasn’t that I’d lost my appetite for stories – I still loved to be taken on a joy ride in my imagination –  but I did find it increasingly harder to sustain a habit that wasn’t directly benefiting the padding of my wallet.

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