Alright, so you know we’re obsessed with SparkNotes’ twitter. Or, I am at least. The memes are so dank. And now there’s a master list of everything they’ve posted about Hamlet, or at least a lot of it, and it’s all iconic. Here we go.
When Your Dad Tells You to Do Something
Clean my room? Murder your killer? Totally, I’ll do that right now. Just let me finish this chapter. Level. Book. I’ll TOTALLY remember the stabbing stuff after that. I’ll even clean up the blood. When I get to it. No one’s perfect, you know?
When You’re Totally Not Jealous
Hamlet might have been the first emo. Maybe. Certainly he was pretty early. Like, I get it man, intellectual and philosophical despair or whatever, your stepdad SUCKS, but maybe go outside. Get some sun. Maybe some soft serve. Commit a murder. Whatever works?
The Roulette Wheel of Murder Excuses
No, I totally didn’t kill my brother, it was, um… *turns around and furiously spins visible wheel* … a snake! Yeah. It was a snake. You know how it is. So many venomous snakes here in Denmark, it was bound to happen sometime. Totally innocent.
Ignoring the Obvious
Look. Your father died in a mysterious snake accident. Your uncle MARRIED YOUR MOM. That’s a yikes in any context, but it’s a super yikes here. Go and get all philosophical about it if you must, but Claudius is barely even trying to hide his misdeeds. Get to the decision, man.
Did You Ever Feel Like a Vine Could See You?
Look, Claudius, if you’re going to pull off a murderous coup, you’ve gotta have just like, a little tiny bit of chill. I’m not asking for a lot. This is like a vampire freaking out and running from the room every time you mention the sun. If you’re going to murder your brother, at least own it.
When the Paper is Due Tomorrow
Maybe just do to him whatever you did to Ophelia. Too soon? #opheliadeservedbetter Seriously though, you live with the guy. Literally just stand there and kill him when he STOPS praying. Kill him in his sleep. Do something. Honestly, Lettie, kill or do not kill, there is no try.
Absolutely No One
Formally. Informally. Hamlet had the emotions of a Romantic, about a hundred years too early. I feel like the romantics would have really Gotten him. (Or like, four hundred years before his time. Imagine Hamlet with a floppy fringe. I digress). Either way, he’s an emotional mess, but mostly valid. #opheliadeseRVEDBETTER
If there’s one writer that any fan of mystery or crime has read, it’s the one and only Agatha Christie. The creator of the red herring has written at least seventy-two books, some featuring recurring and popular characters like Hercule Poirot, the detective with an unforgettable mustache. Yet surprisingly, Christie kept much of her personal life as mysterious as her novels. In celebration of her 129th birthday, let’s look at some of the reasons why we love the Queen of Mystery.
1. Hercule Poirot was based on a real person
image by the federalist
Hercule Poirot, the detective from Murder on the Orient Express, might seem like an odd fellow and he was just as odd in real life. Christie based Poirot off a Belgian man that she spotted on a bus in the early 1910s. The man had a memorable style of facial hair and an interesting expression that stuck with Christie long enough for her to write thirty-nine books featuring the character.
2. those she didn’t like became victims in her books
image by flickr.com
If you got on Agatha Christie’s bad side, you might end up as a victim in her books. For instance, Agatha Christie’s husband archaeologist Max Mallowan worked with an archeologist named Sir Leonard Woolley. Woolley’s wife didn’t like Christie and forced her to stay off the digging site so Mallowan had to visit her by train every day. Shortly after the incident, Christie composed Murder in Mesopotamia, in which an archeology field director’s wife was killed by bludgeoning. She even dedicated the book to the Woolleys.
3. she dabbled in romance
image by the blank garden
The Queen of Mystery could also write romance when she so desired. In 1930, she began writing under the pen name of Mary Westmacott. She wrote six fairly successful romance novels: Giant’s Bread, Unfinished Portrait, Absent in the Spring, The Rose and the Yew Tree, A Daughter’s a Daughter and The Burden. Christie wrote her famous mystery novels and romance novels simultaneously—a woman of good balance. In her autobiography, she said that Absent in the Spring was “the picture of a woman with a complete image of herself, of what she was, but about which she was completely mistaken. Through her own actions, her own feelings and thoughts, this would be revealed to the reader.” So not only was she mysterious, Christie was a strong female who wrote the stories of other strong females in her fiction.
4. She was against violence
Agatha Christie’s murder technique of choice is often poison or her victim getting hit on the head. She avoids violent methods of murder when possible, rarely involving a gun. Hercule Poirot is also a pacifist who doesn’t carry a gun, and bystanders to crimes never shoot the attacker but may tackle him to the ground instead.
5. she was prone to sudden disappearances
image by anomalien
For ten days in 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared from her home in London. Her sudden vanishing made the newspapers, and police found her abandoned car an hour away from London. Police had to hunt for her on foot and eventually found her listening to a band at a hotel. Christie never mentioned why she had disappeared, but there are plenty of theories ranging from her need to escape her home life, a bout of amnesia, or even an attempt to boost sales.
6. she was dared to become a novelist
image by thoughtco.
Agatha Christie’s older sister Madge dared Christie, an avid reader and writer, to try writing her own novel. Clearly Christie took that dare to the extreme. Christie’s first novel was The Mysterious Affair at Styles, written during World War I. It was accepted by John Lane in 1920 after being rejected by six publishing companies. Christie was certainly determined and talented enough to become a writer, and us readers are totally grateful for her perseverance.
On November 8th we’re all going to see Doctor Sleep. Oh, wait, you’re not? Why? Because you don’t know the story? Well, let me fill you in…
Ewan McGregor, also known as young Obi-Wan Kenobi, will star as Danny in the film adaptation for Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, a story which follows an adult Danny Torence, the child from The Shining, as he struggles to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence.
He goes to New Hampshire where he establishes a nursing home where he can use his shining power for good, comforting the dying before they go. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.
In preparation for this movie, we’re going to go through eight Stephen King Books we gotta re-read or just read for the first time (no shame here!) before this movie hits a silver screen near you!
Yep, you knew this would be on this list. Even if you haven’t read It, you’ve heard of It. Loser’s Club, killer clown, weird orgy scene, a giant cosmic turtle, it’s all there. This gem has heart, has scares, has everything Steven King. The book is as big as a stone but it won’t weigh you down.
Juggling themes of adulthood, childhood, and trauma, this story has stuck with us throughout the ages for a reason.
Instead of a scary clown, we meet the the Cujo, the good-natured St. Bernard. Good dog! But he gets bit by a rabid bat. Then when Donna’s car breaks down, she and her young son Tad are trapped while a crazed Cujo tries to kill them. Bad dog!
In his book, On Writing, King notes that due to his alcoholism and cocaine addiction he can barely remember writing this book, and that might be for the best. It’s not bad or anything, far from it, in fact it’s so real, so visceral, so in-your-face-horrifying that it might have even scared Stephen King himself away from writing.
What can I say except thank God there’s only one evil animal in this story.
Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, along with their two younger children move to Maine. Bad move, because in a Stephen King novel Maine is a terrible place. Their cat, Church, dies, so they bury it out in the woods.
Are you sad yet?
Well, things get worse when the cat comes back to life. Turns out that the woods are an ancient burial ground and anything buried there comes back to life with an intent to kill.
With two film adaptations, you’ll have to check out this book, “Darling.”
A post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy, The Standis Stephen King’s fourth novel (can you believe it?).
After a patient escapes from a biological testing facility, he unknowingly unleashes upon the world a mutated strain of super-flu that starts to wipe out 99% of the world’s population.
With the fate of humanity at stake, Mother Abigail—a benevolent one-hundred-eight-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community—and Randall Flagg—the nefarious “Dark Man” who delights in chaos and violence—rise up to lead humanity, and force the survivors to choose between them.
Let’s go back to 1974. Here we get the first novel published by Stephen King, Carrie.
Carrie is relentlessly bullied by her peers and tormented by her overly-religious mother who, after reaching puberty, discovers she has telekinetic powers.
A bloodbath, this novel is one of the most frequently on the banned books. Multiple adaptations have been made, from the stage to the silver screen, but the book proves to be the most terrifying. It’s a good thing that Tabitha King fished the first draft of the first chapter out of the garbage and convinced her husband to keep writing, otherwise Stephen King wouldn’t be the King of horror we know today.
Writer Paul Sheldon is injured in a car accident but is saved by nurse Annie Wilkes. However, Annie is a super-fan of Paul’s writing and is keeping him prisoner, refusing to let him go until he finishes another book in her favorite series.
The title comes from the feeling it evoked not only in Paul Sheldon, but within King himself.
The novel got a film adaptation in 1990, staring James Caan and Kathy Bates in a performance that won Bates an Oscar. Funny enough, the director of the film, Rob Reiner, only took the film on because he wanted to include the infamous ‘axe’ scene but, when it came time to shooting, decided to change the scene into an ‘ankle-breaking’ one instead.
You won’t be miserable when reading this novel, but it might just get under your skin and tear it right off.
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Stephen King started the Dark Tower series with that line and, for the longest time, it seemed like he wouldn’t finish the series. Years went by, and then he was almost killed, run over by a drunk-driver while he was on the side street during his routine morning walk.
He survived, and afterwards flew through the rest of the series just to get to this ending. And trust me, you all, it’s Stephen King at his Stephen-King-est. If you want crazy insanity to the ninth degree, then this is the book for you.
Of course this would be number one, but let’s refresh your memory.
Jack Torrance has a new job at the Overlook Hotel. This is the perfect chance for a fresh start. He’ll have plenty of time reconnecting with his family and his writing his magnum opus. But as the harsh winter winds blow and snow falls, Jack Torrance falls back into his old vices as his young son, Danny Torrance, feels malicious spirits gather around him, attracted to his unique gift called ‘the shining.’
You thought we forgot about this one, didn’t you? Well, it might not be January 15th, but that’t doesn’t matter. This book is a hoot whatever time of year it is.
Author of novels such as The Fun We’ve Had and The Strangest and social media editor at Electric Literature and publisher in chief of Civil Coping Mechanisms, an indie press specializing in innovative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Seidlinger certainly knows his stuff and shows it off here.
Image Via Amazon
There’s no better way to summarize than the premise, so I’ll just quote Amazon and say, “Claire studies forensic science, Victor is the Gentleman Killer. Clair seduces Victor and keeps him in her apartment as her pet, her darkest secret”.
Kirkus Reivews writes that this book is “[a] stab at satire that’s certainly not for all tastes,” but we here at Bookstr think this book defies categorization. Funny, horrifying, fast, melodic, this book is, above all, a wild ride.
She brought us the wonderful short story collection Stone Baby(December 2017) and come June 19th she slipped her debut novel right past us, but thankfully we caught it just in time! What’s it about? I hear you ask. Well…
Image Via Amazon
Merry, Sam, and Conor are the idyllic family unit that find the perfect place to live: a Swedish paradise. But when an old friend from Merry’s childhood, Frank, visits the family, she immediately has a connection with young Conor, Sam, even the neighbors.
Frank and Merry have known each other all their lives and are more like siblings than best friends. They are practically family, and family sometimes knows you better than you know yourself…
Kirkus Reivews writes that this book is “[h]ard to read but also bewitchingly hard to put down—a fitting contradiction in a novel that explores the corruption at the heart of beauty”. We here at Bookstr offer you a warning: the novel goes places you wouldn’t expect and when it gets there, you stomach might tell you stop reading but your eyes just can’t.
She’s written for young adults before, but now Baker is trying her hand in adult fiction and, yes, we hope she continues.
Image Via Amazon
We got Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita. They’ve all worked at Truviv, Inc. for years, but when the company’s CEO finally dies that means that their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Ames has a different relationship with each of his workers, but he has a whispered reputation that have largely been ignored, swept under the rug, left to dissipate like smoke.
Then when Ames makes an inappropriate move on a colleague, these women aren’t going to let it go. Enough is enough, the time is now. But what comes of that?
Kirkus Reviewscalls this July 2nd releases not only “[o]ver-the-top in all the right ways”, but also “[v]iciously funny and compulsively readable, Baker’s first adult novel is a feminist thriller for the #MeToo era”. What more do you need to know?
In addition to authoring several books such as Solemn, Conception, and Upstate, Buckhanon has also made appearances on Investigation Discovery, BET, and TV One as a true crime expert in cases involving women. With her latest book, she puts her expertise to the test.
Back on a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, walks onto the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. The door to the roof is locked, and the snow holds only one set of footprints. A perplexing case, and the authorities aren’t interested in putting the effort required to find “another missing black woman”.
Thus, it’s up to Autumn to find her sister at all costs, even as her own mind starts to unravel.
Kirkus Reviewsnotes “the accurate portrayal of one woman’s struggles with mental health” and we here at Bookstr praise Buckhanon for her ability to balance both a thrilling chase while exploring issues of race, gender, violence, and the inner-self. The book came out July 30th, so there’s no excuse not to have read this book.
With more than 20 detective stories to his name, Pelecanos has made a name not only as a prolific author but as a writer in general. A frequent collaborator with David Simon, he’s written multiple episodes of Simon’s HBO series The Wire and Tremeand has co-created the HBO series The Deuce.
Now he comes at us with a new book and, trust me, you won’t want to miss it.
Image Via Amazon
Michael Hudson is the prison library’s book worm, always eager for more, until the day he’s released after it’s revealed a private detective manipulated a witness in his trial.
Once outside, Michael finds that Washington D.C. has changed a lot during his time in the brink. Lost and confused, trying to balance a new job and surrounded by those who thinks he’s guilty, Michael struggles to find his place in a world of temptations. Things only get worse when he’s confronted by the man who got him released, and his temptation for crime goes towards the extreme.
So while much of this story is classic crime noir — Will Ornazian go too far? Will Hudson wind up busted and back behind bars? — I found myself also reading the book for the Proustian madeleines that Pelecanos serves us: the names of the novels so many of us loved over the years and what those tales mean to the man who came uptown.
Using his customary knowing dialogue and stripped-down, soulful prose, Pelecanos skillfully, sensitively works the urban frontier where the problems and stresses of everyday life cross the line into the sort of criminal behavior that could tempt anyone—anyone at all.
We here at Bookstr say:
Read it now!
And you definitely should. It was released September 4th, so what are you waiting for?
Don’t worry, this will be the only Stephen King adaptation on this list. There’s an ocean full of adaptations to choose from but we picked this adaptation because of its heart, its scares, and its optimistic light.
Image Via Digital Spy
Plus, it’s a close adaptation to the book (unlike Kubrick’s brilliant but unfaithful version of The Shining) that manages to capture both the scares and the comedic self-aware tone that King is most known for, although it does forgo some of the stranger elements.
In 1971 William Blatty brought us The Exorcist. The book goes through horrifying and skin-crawling descriptions of the demonic possession of eleven-year-old Regan MacNeil.
Image Via EOnline
While Regan herself is fictional, the book is inspired by a terrifying case in 1949 of reported demonic possession and exorcism that Blatty heard about while he was a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University.
Image Via Amazon
Two years later the iconic film adaptation hit the silver screens, sending audiences everywhere in a fright. While the film plays fast-and-loose with some of the details, as well as adding its odd terrifying touch, Blatty himself was the screenwriter and producer, marking this adaptation as one of the closest to the original novel.
A sequel to the disturbing police procedure with stunning descriptions, The Silence of the Lambs follows Clarice Starling, who must speak to a confined serial killer in order to track down another serial killer. Skin crawling in more ways than one, this novel shoots through twists and turns and shows that even a confined killer can be deadly.
Image Via Amazon
Top it off with a film adaptation that won all the Academy Awards in the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay (the third film in the history of the Oscars to do so) the characters of Hannibal Lecter and Agent Starling have become cemented into the public consciousness.
Image Via Syfy
It’s horrifying, its disturbing, its uplifting, it’s everything you want in a horror film and its a masterclass in adaptation.
Possibly the scariest incarnation of the Dracula story, the 1958 movie departs from the source material only when it wishes to elevate it. At the time, Bram Stoker’s story was horrifying and shocking to readers everywhere. However, sensibilities have changed and the novel was considered tame.
Image Via Diabolique Magazine
In an effort to strike fear back into the hearts of anyone who heard the name of “Dracula”, the movie displayed the brutal nature of Dracula for the first time in all his onscreen glory. A true movie monster, this adaptation proved to be the scariest depiction Dracula and has kept that title ever since.
Image VIa BFI
Plus, Christopher “His mother was a Countess and he was a real-life spy” Lee portrayed Dracula, he was basically a vampire incarnate.
Did you know this was based on a book? Most people don’t, and they should because the book is just as enticing and awe-inspiring and downright horrifying as its film adaptation.
John W Campell, Jr’s 1938 novella Who Goes There? follows a group of scientific researches isolated in Antarctica who discover an alien spaceship buried inside the ice. They encounter what can only be described as a “thing”—a shape-shifter that takes on the personality of any living thing it devours.
Image Via Amazon
The novella made such an impact that it spawned two movie adaptations, one in 1951 titled Thing from Another World and one in 1982 simply titled The Thing. While Thing from Another World is a great movie on its own, the 1982 became a cult classic and later a mainstream classic thanks due to its memorable characters and its horrifying images.
Warning! Watching this film will make you questions everything, and everyone, around you. Could the Thing be lurking behind you? Is it your loving dog or your cute cat? Or is it your best friend?
David Pinner’s 1967 novel was praised for its “opulent dialogue” but was given a warning because “it is quite likely to test your dreams of leaving the city for a shady nook by a babbling brook”.
Image Via Amazon
While the remake has its moments (not the bees!), the original 1973 starring many a cast, including Christopher Lee, entices us with this seemingly perfect cult with dark undertones. With themes of religiosity and faith, this film will reach down to your core and make you question everything you believe.
This is a horror novel. The bright colors might throw you off, but a humanoid cat breaks into the home of two innocent children and proceeds to have ‘fun’ with them through various chaotic games of growing insanity. Yes, the children take the whole thing in strides, but I think this is because they know that resistance is futile against this feline furry.
Image Via IMDB
This is what the live action film understood perfectly well about the character. It might be overly longer, but like the novel its horrifying how much they have FUN FUN FUN.
Image Thanks to Megan Bomar
I’m going to see that phrase smeared in blood when I get home, won’t I?