Famous British author, Anthony Horowitz, has been warned against creating a black character for his next novel. The reason cited is that that it would not be appropriate for a white author to do so.
Horowitz is a white, 62-year-old Jewish man from London. He is best known for his series of teen spy novels, Alex Rider. One of his Alex Rider novels was made into a movie in 2006.
He has been working on a new series that he says is about the “state of the world.’ In the story, he intended to have two leads, one white boy, and one black boy. His stated reason for wanting these two characters for the lead is because, “I have for a long, long time said that there aren’t enough books around for every ethnicity.”
However, despite his seemingly innocent reasons, he had been warned against writing a black character. His editor told him that creating a black character may come off as patronizing as it is not his own experience. “This is maybe dangerous territory, but there is a chain of thought in America that it is inappropriate for white writers to try to create black characters,” Horowitz stated, “Which was, I thought, disturbing and upsetting.”
The backlash has left Horowitz with second thoughts over including other ethnicities and he has not yet decided what to do.
This news is perhaps influenced by a previous accusation of racism. In 2015, when it was revealed that Daniel Craig may not be returning to the James Bond movies, there was speculation on who would be the next Bond. Idris Elba, a black British man, was one of the favorites for the next person to play James Bond. Horowitz did not like the idea of Idris Elba as James Bond stating that “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit “street” for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”
Despite specifically saying it was not an issue of color, Horowitz’ comment was taken as being racist and he has since apologized to Idris Elba.
His history with potentially racist comments aside, is it right to say that Horowitz cannot write a black character? He has said, “Taking it to its logical extreme, all my characters will from now by 62-year-old white Jewish men living in London.” The thing is, as a novelist it is within your job description to create full worlds out of words. Those worlds will more often than not contain other ethnicities, sexualities, and backgrounds. Additionally, writers rarely work in a bubble. Drafts of novels pass through beta readers before they are ever seen by the public. One thing that beta readers often look for is if parts of the text could be taken the wrong way. If something needs to be fixed, the publication can be put on pause to make those fixes. This has been seen in books such as The Continent by Keira Drake and When We Was Fierce by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, both of which have seen delayed publication on account of passages that could be interpreted as offensive.
Do you think authors should be forced to write only within their own experience?
A little over a month following the controversy surrounding The O’Reilly Factor host’s firing at Fox News, information about the new book in his Killing series emerges.
The new book will be titled Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independenceand as publisher Henry Holt officially stated, will chronicle the events of The Revolutionary War “through the perspectives of many American heroes including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and their foe across the sea, King George III, as they lead the fight for a new nation’s independence. “
Even after the firing of O’Reilly following sexual assault allegations, Henry Holt made no move or statement saying they planned to drop the conservative news reporter’s future book deals.
O’Reilly’s most recent book, Old School, co-authored with Bruce Feirstein, hit shelves March 28th and after debuting at number 2 on USA Today’s bestseller’s list, dropped out of the top 150 after only seven weeks.
Whether the controversy surrounding O’Reilly will have an influence on the sales of Killing England remains to be seen, though we’ll find out come September.
As one of the most popular book genres, Goodreads defines historical fiction is defined as:
“…Novels that re-create a period or event in history and often use historical figures as some of its characters. To be deemed historical, a novel must have been written at least fifty years after the events described.”
I’ve read my fair share of historical fiction novels and have yet to be disappointed by one. If you are an avid fan of the genre, or are looking to get your feet wet and read more historical fiction, any of these novels below would be a great start.
True crime is a fascinating genre where the author doesn’t need to make up the conflict – it’s all too real. Serial killers tend to dominate, but not always, as you’ll see in my list of 13 brilliant true crime reads:
Truman Capote’s 1966 classic kicked off the modern ‘novelized’ form of true crime. This accomplished wordsmith, at the height of his powers, takes readers right into the center of a small town reeling from the cold-blooded murder of a family. He also peers into the hearts of the murderers.
I read this book when I was about to join friends on the so-called hippie trail – the overland trip to Europe that many young Australians took in the late 70s and early 80s. I bailed on my friends. Sobhraj was charming, charismatic and deadly; he committed at least 12 murders, most victims were young backpackers.
After the horror at Columbine, people wanted quick answers. Dave Cullen went behind the headlines and spent 10 years investigating what drove Klebold and Harris to plan and carry out their deadly rampage.
The title of this book refers to the way murderer Gary Gilmore chose to die—by firing squad. The author is his brother, Mikal Gilmore, a music journalist. To say the Gilmore family was dysfunctional would be an understatement; here we have an eye witness account.
Another journalist and another family account. But this time, the crime took place four generations ago. Frank Viviano, suffering post-traumatic stress while covering the Balkans conflict—he was kidnapped and held at gunpoint–found he had time to investigate the suspicious death of his great-grandfather. His vivid account encapsulates the origins of Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia.
Roberto Saviano’s forensic investigation into the Neapolitan Mafia–the Camorra–lanced a festering boil of corruption, extortion, murder, money laundering, people and drug trafficking. Based in Naples, the Camorra’s influence reaches into almost every continent. The publication of Gomorrah changed his life. 10 years later, Saviano lives in hiding, under constant guard.
A real-life murder mystery set in Tombstone, Arizona. A son, Justin St Germain, confronts the horror of his mother’s killing by reconstructing her life and death. The violent masculinity of his hometown under pins his narrative at every turn.
Jon Krakauer investigates the 1984 murder of a mother and child. The perpetrators were the older brothers of the woman’s husband, members of a Mormon sect who said they acted under God’s command. Thorough research into the history of Mormonism combined with jail-house interviews makes this a disturbing chronicle of religious fundamentalism.
This novelistic approach to true crime is set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Erik Larsen tells of H. H. Holmes, the serial killer who lured unsuspecting victims to their deaths in his “Murder Castle” at the Fair.
John Berendt’s book introduces us to the great and good of Savannah, Georgia. If it weren’t true, it would make page-turning fiction: moonlight and magnolias, the mysterious stranger, the gay (and secret) love affair, and a dead body.
Killings isn’t about one crime, it’s a collection of murder stories, originally published in The New Yorker. What fascinates Trillin, is not how people die, but what is exposed by the act of sudden, ‘wrongful’ death.
In The Other Side, we get the victim’s point of view. Lacy M. Johnson’s ‘boyfriend’ built a sound proof room in which to imprison and rape her. Her memoir is an account of a passionate relationship that spiraled into brutality, which finally ended in her desperate escape.
Janet Malcolm is the author of several true crime books, but here she shines the light on why journalists write about crime and what happens when the invisible line between writer and subject is crossed.
The juxtaposition of the shocking and the strange with the mundanity of everyday life — is that the appeal of true crime? We don’t want to think about what lurks below the surface but we sure love to read about it.
There’s only one person with the audacity to say that an original, intact Gutenberg Bible is “a baroque illustrated object that was absolutely not to my taste.” That person is Gerhard Steidl. Steidl is a printer and publisher of photography books who, despite his dissatisfaction with the Bible, considers himself to be in the tradition of Gutenberg. Steidl established his own printing and publishing business in Göttingen, Germany in the late 1960s and has gone on to become one of the most recognizable printers in the world. His name can be found on the spines of over two hundred photography books a year, and he oversees the production of all of them personally.
Steidl is known for his obsessive attention to detail, his outstanding craftsmanship and for embracing the best and newest technology. He seeks out the finest inks and pioneers new techniques to achieve exquisite reproductions. “He is so much better than anyone,” says American color photographer William Eggleston, “Feel the pages of the books, the ink is in relief. It is that thick.” Artists who work with Steidl typically travel all the way to Göttingen, which is about four miles west of the old border with East Germany. Many wait for years to be summoned, and must drop everything when the call comes. “It is like going to kiss the Pope’s ring,” said conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll.
Steidl upholds some unique idiosyncratic methods and personality traits. When his guests arrive, he’s often not ready to give them his attention, making them wait even days before beginning their work. He has his guests wait in a library four floors above his contemporary, non-stop 24/7 printing press, because he does not want artists wandering around town or spending time at a bar or restaurant where he cannot find them. When the time finally comes, working with Steidl is not always an easy endeavor—in fact, his brusque nature has many many grown men and women cry. Dayanita Singh, an artist who lives in New Delhi, has been publishing with Steidl since 2000. She has this to say about working with Steidl, “Everything is done to keep you focused on whatever you are doing. There is this utter concentration—nothing else that is going on in your life is relevant. It’s like if you went to a Vipassana retreat for ten days.” She added, “He might call you down at five in the morning and you could be stark naked, and he wouldn’t notice.”
A photographer working with Steidl will typically make three visits to Göttingen: the first to conceptualize the work, the second to print pages and test materials, and the third to print the book. Steidl gets his paper for the books he prints from factories around the world. When the paper arrives in Göttingen, it sits in the warehouse for about two weeks, in order to reach the optimal temperature and humidity for absorbing ink. Steidl is often overextended, and therefore late in delivering the books he has promised, to the frustration of his distributors. He prints only one book at a time. During this period, however, he is typically also working with other photographers whose projects are at earlier stages of development. Designing a book’s packaging is a process Steidl particularly relishes. “He wants to pick the cover, he wants to pick the endpapers,”says photographer Robert Polidori. “He treasures this limited one-on-one time with the artist. It’s almost a love act.”
Steidl has had very profitable relationships with corporate clients, his biggest being Chanel. His relationship with the company began in 1993, after Karl Lagerfeld won a prize in Germany that included the making of a monograph printed by Steidl. Lagerfeld then proposed that Steidl take over much of the printing for Chanel. Because of this and other corporate clients, Steidl has the ability to disregard commercial viability when choosing which photographers to publish. His print editions usually run from three to five thousand dollars which, for art books, is considered mass production. The books may be expensive, but they’re on par with the standard for high-end art and photography books. Steidl typically pays his artists their royalties up front, as copies on the secondary market tend to go for more than the initial list price. American fine-art photographer Joel Sternfeld, who has worked with Steidl for years, said that “He is creating, almost by himself, this new category, which is the semi-mass-produced book as a work of art. He has an unswerving commitment to the artist.”
That being said, turning a profit is not what drives Steidl’s business. Instead, it is his quest for creating an encyclopedic survey of the world of photography. He is engaged in an effort to print and catalog work that may have become unavailable or obsolete, using industrialized means to distribute it widely. Steidl considers himself, as a printer, to be a technician, not an artist. He had aspirations of becoming a photographer as a young man, but he believed that he would never be as good as the artists he admired. “But it helps me a lot that I have all this knowledge about photography processes—what kind of lens, what is the perspective, contrast, the darkroom work,”he said. “I meet the artist on the same level—not intellectual, but on the same level of realization of the art piece.” While he may only consider himself a technician, it’s fair to say that his work goes beyond run-of-the-mill printing, and that is truly a form of art.
There are book lists like this all over the net and for good reason. Everyone’s list of “must-read” books differs and through reading through others’ lists, we can maybe open ourselves up to reading more diverse literature that we might have normally overlooked. By no means are the following books in any specific order, however they all possess a charm and influence that marks their spot on the list.
Summer (book) lovin’ had me a blast…. summer (book) loving’ happened so fast… I read a book (like these) perfect for me! Okay, enough Grease flashbacks and on with this list of 10 books you won’t want to miss this summer!
The alphabet author (each of her books corresponds with a letter of the alphabet), is back at the mysteries again in her P.I. Kinsey Millhone series. This time, Millhone is investigating a grisly murder and sexual assault in an elite private school.
A young LAPD detective named Renée finds herself punished with the night shift after accusing a supervisor of harassment, though the late-night work hours only fuel her intrigue in a case involving two female victims.
We usually associate ambition and business savvy with men in suits and corner offices in huge office complexes, but these days, it’s not uncommon for the CEO and SVP to just as easily be working at the kitchen counter while packing lunches for kids to take to school. The small business world is ripe with opportunity for moms who want to chase the dream of entrepreneurship. Here are some books to help you (or your mom) get her business up, running, and thriving.
Feliciano offers a step-by-step guide to building your business while maintaining joy (and sanity) in your home life. Your mission is to become a “Badass Business Woman,” and she shows you exactly how to get there.
Duckworth gears her book toward women who are considering a career change in mid-life, encouraging them not to simply settle for another job doing the same old thing, but instead to chase their dreams and start that business they’ve always been thinking of. She offers both insight and inspiration to help these “midlife entrepreneurs” get started in the right direction.
Part of being a successful businesswoman is knowing how to manage your money. Ferris gives you the basics of how to save as much of that money as possible and then shows you how to make your savings earn money for you!
Successful businesswomen don’t get that way by trying to keep up with the Joneses. Cruze (daughter of famed financial guru Dave Ramsey) gives practical advice as to how to grow your wealth and avoid the “comparison trap.”
A burgeoning business needs investors to be able to grow quickly, but raising that venture capital is difficult and scary. Hague explains how it all works, and how you can successfully raise your first round of funds.
It’s easy to get so caught up trying to make your business succeed and taking care of your home that you neglect the rest of your life. Welsh reminds women to live at a slower pace and take the time to practice gratitude and really pay attention to those around them.
If you’re a mom and have always dreamed of starting a business, check out these books and start chasing that dream!
Life is full of mystery and intrigue. If you’re looking for it, look no further than the ancient texts and writings that have been stumping historians since their discovery. Within the pages of each of the historical texts listed below you’ll find magic, ancient culture, human sacrifice, occultism, and mysterious codes and ciphers.
1. The Book of Soyga (Aldaraia)
The Aldaraia, whose significance was said to have been revealed to Adam in Paradise by angels and only able to be interpreted by the archangel Michael, was originally owned by Elizabethan scholar John Dee. The Book of Soyga is a Latin treatise on magic and was thought to be lost after Dee’s death until two were uncovered in 1994 – one in the Bodleian Library and the other in the British Library. The book contains incantations, instructions on magic, astrology, demonology, lunar mansions, and names and genealogy of the angels. The book also contains 36 tables of letters which to this date have yet to be completely deciphered.
2. Prodigiorum Ac Ostentorum Chronicon
Written by Conrad Lycosthenes in 1557, the Prodigiorum Ac Ostentorum Chronicon (say that 10 times fast) was a collection of omens and portents with pictures of various creatures, both real and mythical. It features sea monsters, a Griffin, and human-like beasts that were headless or had faces on their chest. This book, strange as it is, could have been an inspiration for the works of Nostradamus.
3. The Ripley Scrolls
Named for alchemist Sir George Ripley, who spent more than twenty years traveling Europe to find the secrets of transmutation and immortality, The Ripley Scrolls contained pictorial cryptograms that were purported to illustrate the production of the philosopher’s stone (the elixir of life). Many believed that he had found it, as it was rumored that the money he gave to help fund the war against the Turks were made from base metals he had transmuted into gold. Although the original scroll was lost, 21 copies remain in places throughout the world, including the Bodleian Library.
4. The Story of the Vivian Girls by Henry Darger
The mystery of this book actually surrounds its author. Henry Darger was a typical Chicagoan who worked as a janitor for a local hospital. He was born in 1892 and died in 1973. After his death, former landlords were cleaning out his apartment and discovered a massive, 15,000 – page tome that Darger had hand-written, ostentatiously titled, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. The novel features mixed media illustrations, with haunting images of martyr children in various states of mutilation and contains underlying themes of transgenderism – many images of the girls are portrayed with penises, when partially or fully unclothed. His work is said to epitomize outsider art.
5. The Rohonc Codex
This ancient text is truly a mystery. It surfaced in Hungary during the early 19th century but may have been written in the 15oo’s. Nothing is known about this book – not its author, purpose, or even its language. Since the book’s discovery, scholars and linguists throughout the world have tried to translate the codex to no avail. There is yet to be a widely convincing and accepted interpretation given, although theories abound. The book contains unknown symbols and illustrations of religious and military scenes which seem to indicate a society of differing religions (Christian, Muslim, and Pagan) in coexistence.
6. Codex Mendoza
The Aztecs have always been a great source of fascination for anthropologists. From their calendar stone to ceremonial human sacrifices, the culture has an air of mystery surrounding it. The Codex Mendoza is no exception. Scholars call it the first “autoethnography” – a form of writing that uses self-reflection to connect a person’s story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings It is a journal, in traditional Aztecan pictograms, of rulers and the conquered, a ledger of tribute paid by the conquered, and Aztecan daily life. It was commissioned by Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1616, with the intent of being sent to the Spanish king. It was hijacked on its way to Spain and lost for a few hundred years, before resurfacing in the Bodleian Library.
7. The Nag Hammadi Library
The Nag Hammadi Library is a group of 13 codices that comprise the Gnostic Bible. The library was discovered by two Egyptian farmers in 1945. The leather-bound parchments, written on papyrus, were discovered in a sealed jar and thought to have been buried after Saint Athanasius condemned non-canonical works in A.D. 367. The farmers intended to sell the manuscripts, but they eventually found their way to the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt. The Gospel of Thomas, which is the most iconic codex, is estimated to have a composition date of 80 A.D. The discovery of these manuscripts are said to be a major influence on the study of early Christianity and Gnosticism.
8. The Smithfield Decretals
Containing a gathering of papal decrees and letters, the Smithfield Decretals were completed in stages. The text came first, with only a handful of illustrations. The owner of the manuscript commissioned several artists some 40 years later to complete the decretals with images, and the result is a series of bizarre and fantastical creatures littered throughout its pages. Although the decretals were at one time housed at the Augustinian priory of St. Bartholomew’s in Smithfield, London, (hence its title) its true origins are a mystery.
The Codex Seraphinianus is a cross between fantasy and surrealism and features unique and peculiar creatures and plants – fish that resemble an eyeball, bleeding fruit, cities ensconced in a giant oyster shell, and a pair of lovers morphing into an alligator (pictured below). The Codex was written by Luigi Serafini over the span of 30 months and contains 360 pages of undecipherable text. Linguists today have yet to interpret the mysterious language.
The mysteries of the mind make The Red Booka perfect candidate for this list. It was written by famed psychologist Carl Jung during a time of possible mental instability. Critics argue that Jung was experiencing “a creative illness, a period of introspection, a psychotic break, or simply madness.” The psychologist claimed that the prophet Elijah and Salome visited him and guided him through the process of delving into a “collective conscious.” Jung called this technique “active imagination” and the book’s contents are a product of this process.
For those interested in the occult, the Grand Grimoire is as mysterious as they come. The origins of this book are a mystery. Some editions date the book as early as 1421 but it may have been written in the early 19th century by Antonio Venitiana del Rabina, who presumably gathered information for the book from the original writings of King Solomon. It contains spells and rituals, as well as information on summoning demons and bending them to one’s will.
Interested in reading these books for yourself? Unless you’re quite wealthy, it is doubtful you can acquire these rare treasures, but despair not. Many of them have been translated and full PDF files can be downloaded and read at home. Share this list with your friends and find out if they have read any!
As a reader, it’s always interesting to know what everyone else is reading, and this includes notable leaders and personalities of the world. Below are 50 books that inspire our planet’s top business leaders:
Who would win a battle: Harry Potter or Darth Vader? What were Emma’s favorite books when she was a kid? What’s the best thing about playing Hermione Granger?
These are some of the burning questions that some of the cutest kids in the world NEEDED Emma Watson to answer in a recent interview. And of course, when one of the kids asked her about the Beast, she answered in character as Belle (*heart melts*). Check the video out now:
Authors come up with some *weird* names for their characters sometimes. And other times, they land on really cool–but really unusual–names like Jack Reacher and Precious Ramotswe. Ever wonder how exactly your favorite authors came up with those names? Check out the list below for answers:
“I was a television director, and I had lost my job. I was home all the time and therefore, I was available for doing chores and errands, which was the worst part of being out of work! [Laughs] I had started writing what would become the first Reacher book when one night [my wife] said to me, ‘Come to the supermarket with me tomorrow because I’ve got a lot to haul home.’ She’s very small, and I’m tall, so I’m good for that kind of thing. Every time we went to the supermarket, there were little old ladies coming up to me, saying, ‘Oh, you’re a nice, tall gentleman. Would you reach me that box?’ And my wife said, ‘If the writing gig doesn’t work out, you could be a reacher in a supermarket.’ And I thought, ‘That is a really good name.’
“I’ve met at least two babies who have been named Jack Reacher Whatever by their fathers. They’re super-fans and it’s a really bizarre experience, because they come to the book signing with the baby, and with the birth certificate to prove it. It’s always the father, and the mother is kind of hanging back a little bit, embarrassed.”
“In 1987, I signed on as a faculty member for the round-the-world nautical adventure known as Semester at Sea. A student on that voyage was called Tempe. Liking the name, I stored it in some remote corner of my brain. As my readers have learned over the course of 18 novels, our intrepid heroine was born an Irish-Catholic lass in the Chicago neighborhood of Beverly. Given that, the name Tempe had to be formalized to an appropriately ‘baptismal’ version. Thus, Temperance.”
“When I was in college, I took an art-appreciation class where, at the teacher’s choosing, we studied the 15th-century painter Hieronymus Bosch and all his works of chaos and world-gone-wrong, the wages of sin, etc. And then about 15 years later, I’m writing my first novel about an LAPD detective, and I just remembered those paintings and saw a metaphorical connection between this guy, who’s a homicide detective, and the paintings, which are about chaos.
“So I just thought, I’ll name him that strange name, and it would hopefully be intriguing to readers. They’d either know the connection, they’d know the painter and get it, or they wouldn’t know the painter and they’d say, ‘Where’d this crazy name come from? Maybe I should read on.’ To me, to use a bad cliché, it was a win-win situation.”
“I was working in Swaziland, and there was a woman who was helping in the house next to mine who had a little baby. She brought her to show me, this little baby dressed in a very elaborate, lovely sort of dress, and she said, ‘This is Baby Precious.’ Anyway, when it came time to name my character, I thought of this little baby. And there’s a village in Botswana called Ramotswa, which is where her last name came from.”
“A rebus is a picture puzzle, and I decided that my detective in that first book was going to be sent picture puzzles by his nemesis, and he has to work out who’s sending them and why. There was a detective in fiction in the U.K. called Morse, which is a kind of code, and I thought, ‘Well, if we’ve got Inspector Code, we can have Inspector Puzzle!’
“When I wrote the first one, I was a graduate student doing a Ph.D. I was doing semiotics and deconstruction, and again, I thought, ‘What a clever thing to do, to call your detective Inspector Puzzle.’ And then I spent years explaining to people, because readers would say, ‘Where does the name come from? It’s not a Scottish surname.’ And I’d have to say, ‘Oh, it’s actually a puzzle…’ Then I bumped into a guy at a bar in Edinburgh whose surname was Rebus, ten years after the first book came out. We got the phone directory from the barman, and turned to R for Rebus, and went down the page, and there he was: J for Joe. This guy’s real name is Joe. Rebus, J. And his address is Rankin Drive! How bizarre is that?”
“Most art is unconscious. Rawlins just sounded good. Now, it turns out that the name Easy is wonderful for this character, because it’s everything his life is not. But I can’t say that I planned that. Maybe my unconscious was talking and saying, ‘Walter, you know, I have an idea.”
What’s the story behind your favorite character’s name?
Nobody deserves to be broken up with via text. It’s just so cold, such an easy way out! Unfortunately, it happens far too often and hearts are irrevocably broken. On the other hand, these horrible, heartless text messages often provide the rest of us with a good laugh!
For most of these classic characters, the equivalent of a text message would probably have been a messenger dove. Or maybe a nighttime rider. If they had been able to use our modern, more convenient form of communication, though, even the most devoted lovers may have experienced some second thoughts and expressed them by sending text messages.
I admit it. I’m guilty. I once broke up with someone with an iMessage. But I wasn’t nearly as harsh as some of these people are!
Have you ever finished a book and sat there quietly, merely thinking about the world of possibilities ahead? Maybe after reading Moby Dick you figure, “What if, instead of a whale, Moby Dick was a dragon? That sounds so cool!” and later realized exactly how that could very easily backfire.
There are great ideas, and there are great adaptations out there. Some are to be taken with more of a lighter perspective than others, and while they are not what the author may have originally expected for their story, one never regrets watching the more unheard-of adaptations. Without further ado, here are five such examples.
Let us travel back to 1987 in order to discover an animated Japanese television series (rather loosely) based on Louise May Alcott’s Little Women. Now, for all those who have yet to read or even hear about Little Women, a quick summary: the story takes place during the Civil War in the United States, and the focus is the daily lives and struggles of the March family, which consists of four sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy from oldest to youngest) and a very kindhearted mother. With their father fighting in the war, and the economy tilting, the March family doesn’t do too well socially-speaking due to their lack of money, but as they grow older they find happiness and bittersweet moments in the small things.
So, with Tales of Little Women, we are talking about 48 episodes with new side characters and a new plot focusing much more on the Civil War than on the March family itself. The makers of the show took quite the creative license, in other words. While that is neither particularly positive or negative, it is still interesting to see what their take on the story is. I saw the first couple of episodes, and I think I will stick with the original Japanese translation with English subtitles.
Steampunk, a giant octopus, dinosaurs, dragons, secret brothers, and the assassination of Queen Victoria.
While those ideas seem to be a part of an odd dream one has after a very strange type of night, they are the plot of a Sherlock Holmes$1,000,000-priced adaptation. I do wonder what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would’ve said about this adaptation.
The dialogue is both quick and witty despite the inexplicably sepia disposition throughout the whole film. Frankly, watching a much-younger Holmes and a much-older Watson solve this specific mystery is one heck of a hilariously unique experience.
Adapted from a William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, one can’t quite say this is too far from the original. It is said the non-linear, downright bizarre plot of Naked Lunch came to life through a heroin-induced state of delusional creativity on Burroughs’ behalf. Well, we can imagine how that turned out.*points below to the photo*
While I personally have yet to read the novel or see the film adaptation, it is interesting to note how this book was received among the masses due to its heavily obscene nature. It went through an obscenity trial during the 60’s and was later banned in Boston and Los Angeles, so one is bound to be slightly curious.
The gender-swapped, BBC mini-series based on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. In this case, the female version of Heathcliff (named Carol) is the fiery, rebellious daughter of an abusive farmer, while the male version of Catherine (named Andrew) belongs to a posh family and is on his way to a bright, successful future in Manchester University. Both parental figures disapprove of their children’s choice in romantic partners.
A few moments seem forced, there is the unfair death of a dog involved (which was pretty messed up), and a few overall slightly, “What the heck?” sort of moments. But the actress playing Carol is fantastic, even if the character is slightly unstable in every way.
Hm. There are more dragons in this list than I originally anticipated.
Although it was considered a flop (budget of $5 million, box office of $1 million), we should all take a moment to genuinely applaud the undeniable originality behind this adaptation of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Instead of having a normal ship, for instance, Age of Dragonshas an armored land boat the crew uses to hunt for dragons. Ahab searches for a white dragon, which is slightly more menacing than a white whale, if you ask me.
There are film adaptations of just about anything, from McDonald’s to a Rubik’s Cube. What are some adaptations you’d love to see, even if it is only for a few great laughs instead of taking it too seriously?
An artistic college drop-out; a young woman trying to find her way through teaching. This is premise of Allegra Goodman’s, author of the The Cookbook Collector among other bestselling titles, new novel, The Chalk Artist.
Collin takes the role of a young artist who, blessed with all the drawing talent in the world, is at a loss for where his life is headed though knows for certain that the conventional route (finishing school, getting a decent paying job), is not for him.
While working as a bartender at a local cafe, he watches Nina, a beautiful, introspective young woman who is at a cross-roads of her own. The daughter of one of the most successful video-game entrepreneurs in the world, Nina is desperately wanting to create a path solely for herself apart from her famous father, Viktor.
Teaching proves to be her passion, and she finds herself undoubtedly determined to be the best high school English teacher she can. In the midst of this, Nina and Collin begin their descent into an impassioned relationship where they bring out the absolute worst in one another, as well as the best of their potential.
Throughout the story we are also introduced to the stories of teenage fraternal twins Aidan and Diana who have always shared a peculiar connection in childhood, to young adulthood. I wasn’t really a fan of Diana and Aidan’s points of view because their story really could’ve been its own book. With the young character’s perspectives thrown in the mix of the novel, it made it a little tedious to read back and forth, even though the novel is told in third person, between the reality of Aidan and Diana’s troubles and Nina and Collin’s. The title The Chalk Artist just doesn’t really make sense with the twin’s being involved.
On the plus side, Goodman does a decent job of painting a clear, vivid landscape of all four of the main character’s emotions, and her knowledge of the gaming and art industry is quite impressive.
Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy The Chalk Artist. As stated before, the two sets of stories really should have been separate novels, not even one of the four protagonists was vaguely intriguing to me, and I found myself having to just trudge through it.
I haven’t read any other works by Goodman, so I can’t genuinely compare it to any of her other publications, though The Chalk Artist wasn’t a good introduction for me.
Ratings wise, Goodman’s fictional drama/romance earns a 3 out of 5 stars from me. It wasn’t horrible by far, though it didn’t blow me away either.
For some, middle age means winding down. For others, it’s the opposite: they hit their fifties revving up and raring to go. Here are 7 books to help us take advantage of what should be the prime of our lives.
Should we age gracefully or disgracefully? Lynne Segal tackles this question in her book which is both a memoir and a reflection of wider social history. Taking inspiration from that great chronicler of women’s lives in the 20th century Simone de Beauvoir, Segal examines 21st-century attitudes to the middle years.
Middle age is a relatively new concept, historically speaking. And that might be why we struggle to come to terms with how to take advantage of this time in our lives. Patricia Cohen is interested in how purveyors of products and services offering “cure-alls” and “life-enhancing opportunities” are responding to this newly discovered demographic. To avoid being ripped off or scammed, we should be too.
Women in their fifties are largely free from childrearing and associated responsibilities. So what are they doing with themselves? That’s the question Gail Sheehy tackled in her research for Sex and the Seasoned Woman. She discovered that women in middle age are experiencing a sort of “sexual renaissance” and rediscovering the sense of wonder of their far-distant youth.
Humorist and actress Annabelle Gurwith is a fifty-something who lives in Los Angeles, where she gets to see, and experience, day to day life in a culture that is hyper youth obsessed. Her self-deprecating and witty memoir is an account of the indignities faced by women who dare to be over the age of thirty in Hollywood. Definitely one for those who plan to age disgracefully.
At age 50, author and translator Tim Parks began to experience debilitating chronic pain. His plan, as he writes in the introduction to Teach Us To Sit Still, “was to confide in the doctors and pretend it wasn’t happening.” When no diagnosis was forthcoming, he embarked on a quest to deal with the problem himself. He discovered meditation and it enhanced his life to the point where he now calls his illness, “a stroke of luck.”
Rita Golden Gelman is the gold standard for anyone who finds their circumstances changed and is willing to take advantage of that change. At age 48 she divorced, sold or gave away all her possessions and hit the road to follow her dream of traveling and connecting. She’s still going strong at almost 80 years old. Tales of a Female Nomad is her incredible and inspiring memoir.
Middle age could be the prime of our lives if we make the conscious decision to approach it with our eyes open, the willingness to embrace change, and most importantly, a robust sense of humor.
A lot of review sites out there are in general, lacking a niche. They’ll cover any book the reader can get their paws on. While this has its own benefits, it makes it really hard to find specific books. These sites tend to focus on more popular books, which almost defeats the purpose of a review website. Sometimes you have to crawl through gutters to find the true gems in the literary world.
The Ghastly Grimoire does just that, and it’s even more appropriate considering its niche. Gothics, horror, dark fantasy, and more are covered by this site, as long as the content is dark in nature. The website mostly reviews books, but movies, TV shows, and podcasts are included too. The creator, E.M. Jenkinson, creates posts with a startling frequency, covering bestsellers to recently released self-published novels. There’s a wide range to be found here, and you’re bound to find a new book to read browsing the reviews.
The most important thing to note about The Ghastly Grimoire and E.M. Jenkinson is that she is ruthless in her reviews, in the best possible way. Unbiased reviews are her pride and joy, and so are helping authors and readers alike. She will note every flaw, from weaker characters to confusing flow. This helps so much in knowing what to buy and what not to buy, and perhaps more importantly, the reader knows that the five star books are top notch. I’ve read two books that E.M. Jenkinson considered to be five stars, (The Radium Girls and Everything You Want Me To Be) and both books have shook me up, made me emotional, and had so much nuance and tone that I’ll remember them forever.
As a bonus, the website is also gorgeous. I mean, come on.
As the daughter of two veterans and the sister of someone enlisted in the Navy, I can say that the military shapes people in ways that ordinary people can’t quite comprehend. It becomes a part of your identity as much as brown hair or blue eyes. Whether a person walks out of the military relatively unscathed or plagued by PTSD, it shows up in life in often unexpected ways. The divide between citizens and veterans is rather large, and solutions to this need to be found in order to make the lives of veterans better.
The city of Madison, Wisconsin has a beautiful answer. They have started what they call the Warrior Book Club. Citizens and veterans are encouraged to join, with the understanding that they will be talking about books involving combat and war time. Reasons for joining vary: maybe a reader wants to expand his reading list, or maybe a veteran wants to remember his roots. The reasons for joining don’t matter as much as the result: a discussion that brings people closer together, and promotes understanding.
One member, Mitchell Ott, said the experience has been particularly eye-opening. He uses PTSD as an example: “I didn’t understand the full mental thing they go through – that their brain is changed, that they’re chemically and physically changed.”
The Wisconsin Veteran Museum launched the club officially in September, and they have covered an array of classics, including Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carriedand a modern translation of Sophocles’s Ajax, now called All That You’ve Seen Here Is God, written by Bryan Doerries.The books are provided for free to encourage members to join.
What do you think of using books to bring veterans and citizens together?
The death of Roger Ailes last week evoked a mix bag of reactions from those familiar with his work. To conservatives, Ailes was a successful campaign manager turned visionary of a vital counterweight to perceived liberal bias in the mainstream media. To those who were more left leaning Ailes represented the dawn of the fake news era. Prior to his death, Ailes had been making headlines due to the sexual assault charges pressed against him and his support for now President Trump. But regardless of how you feel about Roger Ailes, you cannot deny his impact on the current political media environment. Here are five books that break down the media mogul’s life and legacy.
Before Ailes turned Fox News into a ratings machine, he made Richard Nixon into a president. During his first run at the presidency, Nixon’s inexperience with televised debates ultimately lead to his defeat at the hands of John F. Kennedy. McGinnis shows that it was a young Roger Ailes who was largely responsible for the media strategy that would take Nixon to the Oval Office. The methods Ailes used provided a template for modern campaign strategies, creating the nightmare campaigns we know and love today.
Gabriel Sherman has the honor of being responsible for both the reporting on Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment scandal and writing the book that incurred Ailes’ wrath. Sherman sheds light on Ailes’ genius behind the scenes as the showrunner at Fox. In doing so, Sherman also highlights Ailes’ sometime combative relationship with his stars, as well as the ways Ailes used Fox to advance his own political agenda.
There was a time when Megyn Kelly was one of Roger Ailes rising stars at Fox. So it was extremely surprising when she became one of the key figures in his fall from grace. Kelly alleges in Settle For More that Ailes made unwelcome sexual advances (which he denies) and paints a portrait of what it was like to work for him. Whether or not you agree with her viewpoints, her book provides a great insight into what working at Fox was like.
Over the years, Fox has become known for providing viewers with a much more confrontational version of political debate. Diana Mutz explores the ways in which this version of political discussion has impacted US politics and US media. Mutz argues that while this makes for great television, and even draws attention to important issues, it may make it harder for people to respect differing opinions. If you want one explanation of why political discourse in the United States has become so polarized this is definitely one book you’ll want to pick up.
If you’re looking for definitive proof that Fox acts more as a partisan news machine than a traditional news network then look no further. Brock and Havt use a combination of leaked memos and news pieces from Fox to make the argument that Ailes used Fox to advance his own political agenda. Brock and Havt also argue that Ailes used a mix of different tactics to promote his viewpoints including biased reporting and manipulation of facts.
These books will help you to parse through the legacy of Roger Ailes and why he was simultaneously respected and hated by many. He remains a polarizing figure, which is fitting, given the ways in which he has changed U.S. politics and news media, for better or worse.
Last year Arundhati Roy announced The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which will be her second book since the best selling work The God of Small Things. Though this may be her second fictional work, Roy has spent the last twenty years writing political essays that dissent the Indian government, which include “The End of Imagination,” “Capitalism: A Ghost Story,” and “Walking with the Comrades.”
Her first novel took four years to write, and chronicles various themes from facets of communism to the Indian caste system. It has been praised as insightful, dazzling, extraordinary, and outstanding. Amazon describes it: “lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated.”
In the same style as Small Things, her new novel will feature the same beautiful prose and will incorporate local Indian languages. The Ministry of Utmost Happinessis primarily set in New Delhi, India, and follows the story of Anjum, who was born a hermaphrodite and raised as a boy, when she goes to live in a home for transgender women, and then finds a solitary life in a graveyard where she creates a guest house. A few of the other prominent characters, referred to as “mad souls,” range from a baby on a sidewalk to a father writing a letter to his late daughter.
“I have lived with the characters in this book for close to 10 years. Between them they have conspired to confound accepted categories and notions – including my own – of identity and gender, nationhood and patriotism, faith, family, motherhood, death – and love itself,” Roy shares about her new novel.
For the cover of Happiness, Roy knew exactly what she wanted. It was designed by David Eldridge (who also designed the Small Thingscover), with photos taken by Mayank Austen Soofi. Roy selected from about a hundred photographs that Soofi took of headstones, with Soofi commenting, “I’ve done the cover photo for the woman who wrote The God of Small Things. I was very nervous since she is my favourite living author (Hindustan Times).”
The Happinesscover has elegant details and greatly expresses the primary themes of the novel, which Simon Prosser (of Penguin imprint Hamish Hamilton in the UK and Meru Gokhale, and Penguin Random India) stated: “The writing is extraordinary, and so too are the characters – brought to life with such generosity and empathy, in language of the utmost freshness, joyfully reminding us that words are alive too, that they can wake us up and lend us new ways of seeing, feeling, hearing, engaging (The Guardian).”
Her literary agent, David Godwin, shares, “Only Arundhati could have written this novel. Utterly original. It has been 20 years in the making. And well worth the wait (The Guardian).” This highly anticipated novel will no doubt cause the same ripple effect as her first.
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