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.
Month: May 2017
28 WEEKS LATER – Rowan Joffé
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.
The War of Art – STEVEN PRESSFIELD
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.
The Cuckoo’s Calling – ROBERT GALBRAITH
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).
The Danish Girl – LUCINDA COXON
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.
Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight – M.E. THOMAS
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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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – HARUKI MURAKAMI
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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Small Great Things – JODI PICOULT
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.
On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft – STEPHEN KING
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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