Tag: catcher in the rye

8 Books About Descending into Madness Before ‘The Joker’ Comes Out

Before Todd Phillips sends in the clown and unveils The Joker on a silver screen this October 4th, let’s look through some of the some of the best books about absolutely losing your mind.

This movie is a tough cookie for us. Yes, it’s based partially on The Killing Joke, but what it’s taken from Alan Moore’s iconic graphic novel appears to just be a few bits and pieces (although I’m making a bet right now that the scene when the Joker goes on stage is the beginning to that horrific scene from The Dark Knight Returns), but besides that, the influences on Todd Phillips’ newest ‘comedy’ is mostly from old Scorcese films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Mean Streets, and King of Comedy.

So how do we talk about this film? Well, we’re going to do exactly what the title of this article says and go through the top eight greatest books about descending into madness. You know the meme.

 

Joker Meme

Image Via ME.ME

 

Well, turns out that society has always been pretty terrible, a hotbed for madness. But how mad is that madness? Let’s find out. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

 

8-Life of Pi by Yann Martel

 

I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you… stranger. – The Dark Knight

 

Life of Pi by [Martel, Yann]

Image Via Amazon

 

I know what you’re thinking: this is a book about a boy living on a boat with a tiger after a shipwreck, but is it?

Let’s start at the beginning: Pi was bullied by his peer relentlessly before writing out the square root of pi (well, as much as he could) in order to change his nickname from ‘Pissing Patel’ to ‘Pi.’ Thus, he faced society’s onslaught, and that’s only in the prologue.

Do things get better from there? Well, he was certainly one of the few survivors from a shipwreck but after that things get fuzzy.

He tells a writer he’s interviewing with that he survived on the lifeboat with a tiger, a spotted hyena, and a zebra with a broken leg. The hyena kills the zebra and the tiger kills the zebra, and Pi manages to befriend the tiger before returning to land. Pi is saved and the tiger escapes, wandering into the wilderness never to be found again.

But the official story is far worse. The survivors on the boat weren’t a zebra, a hyena, and a tiger, but rather Pi’s mother, a brutish cook, and Pi himself. The cook killed his mother and then Pi killed the cook, feasting on human remains and using other pieces as fish bait.

Which is the true story? Did Pi do the impossible and live on the water with a tiger, or did he go crazy and imagine a tiger to make himself feel better?

Maybe Pi did descend into madness and cannibalism, or maybe the tiger story is true, but either way he now lives in a world filled with those that doubt him.

 

7-Yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman

 

They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out—like a leper. See, their “morals”, their “code”… it’s a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. – The Dark Knight

 

Image Via Amazon

 

An important early work of American feminist literature, due to its illustration of the attitudes towards mental and physical health of women in the 19th century.

Narrated in the first person, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a woman going through postpartum depression whose physician husband (John) decides to treat her by not treating her. He forces her to live inside a boarded up room where she is told to simply eat well and get plenty of air.

The only stimulus in this room, the only thing she can be interested in, is the room’s yellow wallpaper.

From there, her mind slowly unravels. She starts believing there are things behind or inside the wallpaper and, as she grows into madness, she starts chasing the wallpaper and creeping like a spider beside the wallpaper. Her life becomes this wallpaper.

This treatment was common during the early 19th century and, since the book was published in 1892, it shows a woman’s steady descent into madness thanks to society’s indifferent ignorance.

 

6-Catcher in the Rye by Holden Caulfield

 

The Catcher in the Rye by [Salinger, J.D.]

Image Via Amazon

 

The mob has plans. The cops have plans. Gordon’s got plans. Y’know they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. – The Dark Knight

 

In case you haven’t read this book, Holden Caulfield is an outsider living on the brink of society. Everyone thinks he’s crazy, a drifter, but he rightly criticizes and critiques adults for their superficiality. ‘Phony’ is what Caulfield calls them, as he dreams to be a child again when times were simpler.

After spending a novel-length amount of time floating through the town, going largely unnoticed except when he’s mugged by a pimp, he ends up in an asylum. Yes, he pledges to get his life on track, but can we really believe him?

 

 

5-High-Rise by J B Ballard

 

When the chips are down, these…these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. – The Dark Knight

 

High-Rise: A Novel by [Ballard, J. G.]

Image Via Amazon

 

Following his divorce and the death of his sister, Dr. Robert Laing moves into the twenty-fifth floor of an apartment complex. From there, he’s continually bombarded with negative events, including a costume party he’s invited to where everyone mocks and degrades him. Eventually, he goes over the edge, not to spoil the plot, but it ends with cannibalism as the once-peaceful residents of the apartment complex descend into madness.

The similarities to the film should be obvious. Laing and Arthur Fleck are both beaten down by society and eventually crack, proving that the worst monsters don’t have sharp teeth and bear-like claws, but a human face and simple words and judgmental glares.

 

4-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

 

This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. – The Dark Knight

 

Crime and Punishment by [Dostoyevsky, Fyodor]

Image Via Amazon

 

Rodion Raskolnikov is a law student who dreams of enforcing the law, but those morals go out the window because of poverty. Society has cast him out, and poverty forces this ex-student to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money.

After the murder, Raskolnikov is morally racked by his deed, tormented with confusion, paranoia, and disgust, forcing him deeper into poverty.

Poverty pushes him to kill, and once he’s killed his misery drives him deeper into poverty. This vicious cycle is one society forces on him, and with each passing moment he falls deeper and deeper into madness.

 

3-Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

 

Why so serious? – The Dark Knight

 

Image result for tell tale heart amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

For some reason, there is a man who lives with an older man who has a ‘vulture’ eye. Why does he have a vulture eye? Does the vulture eye represent something? Is the man his father, his landlord, his master? Is the narrator a servant?

The exact circumstances are left unclear, but the narrator’s decent into madness isn’t.

After a carefully calculated murder, a ‘perfect crime,’ the narrator dismembers and disposes the body under the floorboards. Then the police came and they talk to the man about this unidentified old man. During the conversation, the narrator hears a a beating heart and grows concerned, then realizes that the police are openly mocking him, ignoring the heartbeat and watching him suffer.

The twist? It’s subtle, you might miss it, but the heartbeat the narrator hears isn’t the old man’s, but his own. Talk about madness.

 

2-Rats in the Walls by Lovecraft

 

It’s a funny world we live in. – The Dark Knight

 

Image result for The Rats in the Walls amazon

Image Via Amazon

 

After Delapore, an American, moves into an English estate, he and his cat start hearing the sounds of rats scurrying behind the walls. Finding himself in a society that doesn’t accept him because he’s a ‘foreigner,’ Delapore tries to find the truth about the rats behind the wall, but his psyche starts to unravel.

After a series of dreams, Delapore learns that his family maintained an underground city for centuries, where they raised generations of ‘human cattle’—some regressed to a quadrupedal state—to supply their taste for human flesh. Is this true, or is he simply mad?

Well, after, Delapore attacks and cannibalizes one of his few friends, he is locked in a mental asylum. This ends his reign of madness but he continues losing his mind, proclaiming that it was “the rats, the rats in the walls,” that ate the man.

The society that rejected him continues to do so given that the investigators of the case tear down the estate, covering it up and excluding one of their own officers after he goes insane as well. It truly is a funny world.

 

 

1-American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

 

American Psycho

Image Via EdwardSexton.com

 

Does it depress you, commissioner? To know just how alone you really are? – The Dark Knight

 

A stockbroker in midtown Manhattan, Patrick Bateman lives in a world where people don’t talk to each other, don’t listen to each other, and don’t really know each other. People know him, but they don’t know the “real” him. He exists as a part of the crowd. He’s not rejected by society because that means they’d have to notice him.

This world of superficiality gets to him, and he turns full killer, or does he?

It’s the main question of the novel that no one, not even the author, can answer. At the end of the novel, he goes to the apartment where he’s killed numerous people to find it perfectly clean. Is this because he’s been hallucinating all these murders, or was the apartment cleaned because the owners doesn’t want a negative reputation to affect its resale value?

He killed a man, but then he’s told the man is on vacation. What’s happening here?

The answer is we don’t know because we don’t know the real Patrick Bateman, and we don’t know the real Bateman because he doesn’t know himself. It’s not a look into insanity, it’s us drowning in a world brought to us by a man who is utterly alone.

In this novel, we live and breath madness, and that’s about as close as the Joker’s world as we’re going to get…

 

…until the film comes out. Will you see it opening day, or will you be too busy cleaning up a murder scene that might not even exist?

 

 

Featured Image Via USA Today

Lizzo Lewks as Iconic Book Covers

I wanted an excuse to think about Lizzo, okay? I’m only human.

Here are six fabulous book covers, and the Lizzo looks that match!

 

 

 

1. The Great Gatsby

 

Image via The American Writers Museum

 

Lizzo in the music video for Tempo/Image via essence

 

2. Catcher in the Rye

 

Image via Amazon

 

Lizzo for Playboy/Image via Brandy Source

 

3. Brave New World

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

Lizzo during her performance at the 2019 MTV TV and Movie Awards/ Image via Spin

 

4. Clockwork Orange

 

Image via Amazon

 

Image via Teen Vogue

 

 

5. 1984

 

Image via Amazon
Lizzo in her album art for Truth Hurts/Image via Out

 

 

6. Fahrenheit 451

 

Image via Slate

 

Lizzo as Ron Burgundy/Image via Youtube

 

 

 

 

 

Featured image via Music in Minnesota 

 

10 Fictional Schools Even Worse Than Ones We Went To

The back to school season is always difficult for those of us still enrolled in the education system, however we really don’t have it all that bad. And there’s nothing quite like books to make our lives feel just a little less sucky in comparison.

Here are ten fictional schools that we would never want attend, in order from least bad to the absolute baddest.

 

 

10. Wayside School (Wayside school Series)

Wayside School is Falling DownImage via Scholastic

 

There is no way in hell that Wayside School is up to OSHA code. It’s literally falling down.

Plus, none of the kids in this school learn anything. Sure it’s fun to muck around in class every once and a while, but these kids are learning math without numbers and being turned into apples by evil witch teachers.

Call me old fashioned but that environment doesn’t seem very conducive to learning.

 

9. Rosewood High (Pretty Little LIars)

Rosewood HighImage via Pretty Little Liars Wiki

 

Rosewood High has all the average high school stressors. There’s sexuality to figure out, eating disorders to cling to, and teachers to be assaulted by.

But what really puts Rosewood on the map? The blackmail and murder. A lot of it. So, so much.

 

8. Thomas Ewen Consolidated High School (Carrie)

Carrie at promImage via imdb

 

This particular school is a bit different. It’s not Carrie’s school that’s awful, it’s her fellow students. Carrie’s peers relentlessly cruel, and the teachers don’t really seem to give a damn.

If you were to attend this school you might get a couple tampons chucked your way, which is pretty mean, but not deadly.

Definitely stay in on prom night though…

 

7. Pencey Prep School (Catcher in the Rye)

Catcher in the RyeImage via Amazon

 

If you’ve ever toured at a boarding school or college, you might be familiar with schools like Pencey Prep. The website is sleek, the brochures are long and convincing, and the images all show students having the time of their lives sitting in class or enjoying their extracurriculars.

Then you get there and it’s raining, the classrooms still have those televisions on rolling carts, and there’s no clubs to speak of.

How phony is that…

 

6. Lowood Institution (Jane Eyre)

An interpretation of LowoodImage via WatchingJane

 

Jane Eyre is sent to Lowood Institution as a punishment from her cruel aunt, Sarah Reed.

If the starvation, cruel discipline, and threadbare clothes weren’t punishment enough, holding on to your best friend desperately as she dies of consumption probably fits the bill.

Students attending this school today are definitely gonna want to get vaccinated before the school year starts.

 

 

5. Prufrock Preparatory School (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Prufrock PrepImage via Lemony Snicket Wiki

 

Prufrock Prep isn’t exactly… welcoming.

Among Prufrock Prep’s many dazzling features are the Orphan Shack where all orphans are forced to live, a punishment where being late to class means you are forced to eat your meals like a dog with your hands tied behind your back, and your grade in gym class is worth 51% of your overall grade meaning most members of Bookstr‘s audience would probably flunk out.

Ha ha, gotcha. Nerds.

 

4. Crunchem Hall Primary School (Matilda)

Crunchem HallImage via Sony Pictures Entertainment

 

While Crunchem Hall didn’t last forever, it certainly left an impression on every child who read Matilda. I don’t even like to wear my hair in pigtails because I’m so irrationally afraid someone will grab me by the braid and fling me into the air.

They also just don’t look that good on me. I have a big forehead.

Also this school is literally shorthand ‘Crunch Them’ Hall. Who did that.

 

3. Hogwarts (Harry Potter Series)

HogwartsImage via Penguin Teen

 

I know everyone wants to be a wizard or witch, and everyone wants to hang with Harry and his crew, but Hogwarts is dangerous.

Even prior to Voldemort’s presence on campus there was a giant lizard monster in the basement, murderous mermaids in the water, and a backyard so deadly they had to name it the Forbidden Forest to keep students from going in and getting killed.

Some people might think I should’ve put Durmstrang on this list instead of Hogwarts, but honestly Hogwarts seems way more perilous.

Hogwarts became a literally battlefield at the apex of a wizarding world war, Durmstrang is just emo.

 

 

2. Shiroiwa Junior High (Battle Royale)

Shiroiwa Junior High class photoImage via What’s on TV

 

Realistically, you wouldn’t want to be an eighth grader at any school in this universe. You probably also don’t want to be a eighth grader in any universe, to be fair.

However being an eighth grader in Battle Royale means you could be randomly selected by the government to participate in a Hunger Games style fight to the death that lasts over the course of three days.

Now I didn’t love my middle school classmates, but I don’t want to murder them, and I definitely don’t want to be murdered by them.

 

1. The Rachel and Leah Re-Education Center (Handmaid’s Tale)

Image via Abbey Research

 

This school is where handmaids learn how to be handmaids. The women attending have their hands chopped off, their eyes gouged, and their tongues cut out as punishments for misbehaving.

Definitely makes detention seem like a walk in the park.

 

 

 

 

Featured image via American Cinematographers

Is It Okay to Judge a Book by Its Cover?

I have a confession to make: I judge books by their covers. I know, I know, it’s a cardinal sin⁠—but I can’t help it.  When I see a book with big shiny letters and a chiseled man toting a gun, I think spy novel. When I see two lovers clasping each other over a curly cue font, I think bawdy romance. When I see an artsy photo with minimalist typeface, I think indie novel.

 

Heart of Darkness

Image via amazon

 

A good cover hints at what to expect from a book. It is, effectively, a marketing tool. But it’s also much more than that. The cover of a book can affect the way you read it. When I read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, for example, I was haunted by the emaciated figure on the book’s jacket. The cover stuck with me throughout my reading, and I came to associate the plot with this disturbing image.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

image via amazon

 

Think about the first Harry Potter book (the US edition). Many fans of the series fell in love with that scruffy haired wizard on the cover as they pictured him embarking on his adventures. Book jackets can be visual aids to the reader, and they can also be cultural touchstones. If I were to ask you to visualize The Catcher in The Rye, chances are the iconic image of the red carousel horse on the front cover would pop up in your head. This cover draws special attention to The Catcher in The Rye’s climactic scene and encapsulates the novel’s loss of innocence theme. It comes to represent the story as a whole.

 

The Catcher in the Rye

image via goodreads

 

A book’s cover shouldn’t be disregarded as a marketing tool. It is, effectively, part of the book itself. By no means does a cover reflect the quality of writing found in a book, but, whether we like it or not, it does change the way we read it.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Get Literary

J.D. Salinger’s Novels Will Finally be Released as E-Books

It comes as no surprise to book lovers that author J.D. Salinger would be adverse to publishing his novels electronically. His personal beliefs come out in his novels. If you even mentioned the idea of reading a book on a computer to Holden Caulfield, he would have had a conniption.

Salinger stayed away from the press as his literary fame grew, but was very open about his dislike of books changing during the digital age. However, this week, his son, Matt Salinger announced that his four published novel would in fact be available for the first time in e-book form.

 

books written by JD Salinger

Image via Penguin Books

 

After Salinger died in 2010, his son has been overseeing the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust and making every decision with his legendary father in mind. Despite his father’s aversion to advancing technology, he said “There were few things my father loved more than the full tactile experience of reading a printed book, but he may have loved his readers more — and not just the ‘ideal private reader’ he wrote about, but all his readers.”

 

 

Especially when thinking of readers with disability, Matt Salinger knew he was making the right decision. Starting Tuesday, Salinger’s long-time publisher, Little, Brown and Company, will release all of Salinger’s books electronically. Now even more people can be exposed to Salinger’s iconic works: The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction  and Franny and Zooey.

 

JD Salinger

Image via The Irish Times

 

Salinger’s son also hinted at his father’s unpublished manuscripts that he hopes to publish in the future. Be on the lookout, literary fans, Salinger’s posthumous releases may just give us the next great literary character (so we can finally all stop quoting Holden for once).

 

 

Featured Image via Variety