Every so often, something in pop culture hits you at exactly the right time. I heard about Gone Girl shortly after a rather unpleasant breakup that leEvery so often, something in pop culture hits you at exactly the right time. I heard about Gone Girl shortly after a rather unpleasant breakup that left me disillusioned for awhile. The timing could not have been more perfect. Flynn's insight into human psychology and the nature of relationships is nuanced, dark, and original. I took great delight in the layered narratives (entries from Amy's journal detailing the origins of their relationship are interspersed with Nick's pov starting on their fifth anniversary, when Amy goes missing) of how this central relationship came to be and how it unraveled. The day I finished Gone Girl, I immediately bought copies of Sharp Objects and Dark Objects on my kindle.
This one isn't for fans of light and optimistic fare, but if you appreciate a little darkness in your characters, I can't recommend this one highly enough....more
So I've marked this as finished, which isn't strictly accurate. This book was recommended to me by a friend when I was hired as dramaturg (research asSo I've marked this as finished, which isn't strictly accurate. This book was recommended to me by a friend when I was hired as dramaturg (research assistant, for the non-theatre folk) for a production of Richard III. Saccio has dedicated chapters to each of Shakespeare's eight major history plays, comparing what was known/believed/written at the time Shakespeare wrote each play, what we now know about the actual history, and how Shakespeare put his own twist on things through dramatic license, time compression, etc. My reading focused on the introduction (one of the most lucid, easy to follow explanations of the Plantagenets and familial conflicts through the Wars of the Roses I've ever read), and the chapters on Henry VI (parts 1-3) and of course, the chapter on Richard III. I've joked that working on Shakespeare's history plays is like watching an intricate sci-fi TV show or movie with time travel and alternate timelines. Saccio does a great job delineating the multiple timelines (what Shakespeare wrote, what 16th century historians wrote, how later historians re-conceived the narrative, etc). I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in Shakespeare's history plays, or for that matter, anyone with an interest in English medieval history and royal succession....more
I confess I had some issues with a couple of the chapters - Barry's chapter on feminism in particular seems rather dismissive, which I find highly proI confess I had some issues with a couple of the chapters - Barry's chapter on feminism in particular seems rather dismissive, which I find highly problematic. However, it's a good collection of shorthand explanations of the major movers and shakers and the dominant schools of thought involved in critical and cultural theory over the last fifty years or so. If you're having trouble keeping up with structuralism vs. post-structuralism, postmodernism, and for that matter, post-everything, this is a very useful reminder and reference book....more
I've been a fan of David Lindsay-Abaire's work since Kimberly Akimbo, and while I miss the wackiness of his earlier off-kilter plays, his recent contrI've been a fan of David Lindsay-Abaire's work since Kimberly Akimbo, and while I miss the wackiness of his earlier off-kilter plays, his recent contributions to the world of theatre (Good People and Rabbit Hole) reveal him as a brilliant playwright of more realistic theatre as well.
Good People follows Margie (pronounced with a hard g), a single mother of a dependent adult child in South Boston. There are better plot descriptions out there, so I won't take too much time here with what happens to Margie. Lindsay-Abaire handles the questions of class and the American dream of mobility and social/economic advancement without ever crossing into polemic or melodrama. Margie's high school boyfriend got out of Southie. She didn't. The reasons why and why not deal with the complexities of race, gender, family structure, and straight up luck. And choices. We tend to lionize those who pull themselves up out of poverty, but Lindsay-Abaire questions what it costs to do that. Can a Southie get out and still be nice, still be "good people"?
Romance novels and the women who read them have a bad rep. This book goes a long way toward reclaiming some respect for the genre. After all, romanceRomance novels and the women who read them have a bad rep. This book goes a long way toward reclaiming some respect for the genre. After all, romance outsells nearly every other genre, and almost every other genre incorporates some element of romance, so what's up with all the snobbery? And no, not every woman who reads romance novels is a single 60-something virgin with fourteen cats. Some of us are really successful, have strong happy relationships, and are pretty damn smart. With PhDs, for example.
Now that I'm done with the defense, I can get back to the book. Beyond Heaving Bosoms is one of the funniest books I've read recently, written by women who can pay homage to the romance genre that they know and love so well in the same breath in which they skewer the more ridiculous elements with the accuracy only a true fan can manage. They break down the formulas, discuss the many types of hero, heroine, plot devices, and subgenres, with graphs, charts (all far more entertaining than any other graph or chart you've ever seen), and choose your own romance adventure type plot predictors. Whether you're a long-time fan of the genre, a closet romance reader, or completely new to the idea, the Smart Bitches will give you an education and a highly entertaining read. Oh, and they have a website - smartbitchestrashybooks.com. Enjoy!...more
The title, as the author admits, is something of a marketing ploy. If you only dedicate 15 minutes a day to writing, you'll probably never finish. ButThe title, as the author admits, is something of a marketing ploy. If you only dedicate 15 minutes a day to writing, you'll probably never finish. But 15 minutes a day is a great way to get started - just like lifting a few pounds, or running for a few minutes at a time are better ways to get in physical shape than going for broke the first time out. I found Bolker's concept of a "zero draft" particularly helpful. A zero draft doesn't have to have complete sentences, organizing structure, or anything else that we usually associate with a "draft" of something. It's about getting ideas, even if half-formed and awkwardly expressed, into some kind of written form that can be edited, reshaped, and rewritten later on. As someone with far too many neuroses about my writing - I expect the first draft to be damn good, and it often gets in the way of my ability to actually write anything - the permission to write utter crap is absolutely necessary. In all, a useful set of strategies and reminders for writing of all kinds that I've found helpful in reformulating my grad school writing techniques....more