Tag: classic

#Bookstagrammer of the Week: @braveliteraryworld

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This Week’s Featured creator: @braveliteraryworld

 

Each week Bookstr is going to be highlighting your favorite Bookstagrammers. A Bookstagrammer is someone who shares all of their literary interests, ranging from book reviews and aesthetically pleasing book pictures to outfit pictures featuring their current reads. Anything that evokes bibliophile feels is on their Instagram pages. Make sure to give these Bookstagrammers the love they deserve! This week we are getting to know a teacher who is a lover of classic lit and diversity: Esther, or as you would know her on Instagram, @braveliteraryworld.

Here is her story:

 

 

image via @braveliteraryworld

 

 

Chapter 1: The Birth of a Bookstagram Account

 

Esther saw the Bookstagram community as a way to showcase her passions for both books and photography.

I made my first post on May 23, 2016. I had seen a lot of Bookstagram photos on Tumblr. Before then, I had no idea Bookstagram was a thing. When I saw the photos, I was excited by how people have combined two of my interests– books and photography– to create such beautiful works. In the beginning, my photos were absolute garbage. But I kept at it, focusing on my love of classic literature, and I haven’t stopped since.

 

Since Esther’s favorite genre is classic literature, some of her favorite authors include Isabel Allende, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Jacquline Woodson. But what is her favorite book of all time?

My favorite book is Wide Sargasso Sea, and everyone who follows me has heard me talk about it.

 

View this post on Instagram

How’s the weather where you are? . Fall is settling down here, and its arrival always make me want to pick up stories set in English countrysides, with farmhouses in the horizon and an open sky above. On that note, here are my top favorite English pastoral novels. . • Tess of the D’Urbervilles – a young, naive woman sets out into the world to save her family from poverty, but those who promise hope only bring disaster and heartbreak. . • I Capture the Castle – told through the diary entries of Catherine Mortmain, a teenager ready to take on the world, and set in a crumbling castle in Suffolk. Hilarious and heartwarming. . • Sense and Sensibility – not my favorite Austen, but S&S deserves its place on here for the loving descriptions of trees, hills, skies, and fields. The Dashwood sisters may have fallen down in the world, but they have no shortage of suitors as the girls form and test their own perspectives on love. . • The Small House at Allington – Lily Dale is in love with Mr. Crosbie, whom she calls Apollo. However, while Crosbie is fond of her, he is unsure if he’ll be happy with a poor wife. The most pastoral novel on this list, get ready for flower metaphors, images of rivers and shepherds, and gorgeous descriptions of setting. . • The Fall of the House of Usher – didn’t think that gothic horrors can be pastoral reads too? The narrator shows up at his friend’s dilapidated home, and is informed that his host’s sister has just died. I won’t give away the rest, but this is my favorite Poe story. . . . #classicliterature #penguinclassics #fallreads #fallvibes #janeausten #edgarallanpoe #thomashardy #readmorebooks #readinggoals #october

A post shared by Esther (@braveliteraryworld) on

 

image via @braveliteraryworld

 

Esther’s fun fact is that she was born in Taiwan.

 

Chapter 2: To The Bookstagramming

Esther’s preference for classic literature leaves her shelves with a classically clean look that is perfect for Bookstagram. 

 

 

 

 

image via @braveliteraryworld

 

When it comes to her posting schedule, Esther notes that it’s important for her to post in a way that prioritizes her life.

I used to post around what Instagram has deemed my “optimal” times, but with the algorithm, who really knows? Now, I post when it’s convenient for me. I love Bookstagram, but in this matter, I am putting myself– and the students I teach– first. 

 

 

What are Esther’s favorite Bookstagram accounts, and what advice would she give to those Bookstagrammers who are just starting out?

I will never be able to name all the Bookstagrammers that I love. But I do want to mention that I really appreciate @bluestockingbookshelf and @ab_read‘s honest reviews, that I am always encouraged by @bookplaits, that I am inspired by @beingabookwyrm and @sachi_reads, and that I am happier because of @bookbookchick.

My advice is to do what it takes to make Bookstagram a fun place for you. If that means posting and engaging regularly, do it! If that means posting and engaging when you can, do that. Sometimes, Bookstagrammers— including me— feel guilty for not spending more time on here. But you have to do what works for you. 

 

 

If Esther got the opportunity to take a selfie with an author, there are some classic authors that she’d love to meet.

I once met Rushdie, and I was so excited I dropped my phone! I would like to meet Amy Tan, and I would’ve loved to meet Toni Morrison.

 

Chapter 3: TBR

Esther’s TBR list is full of reads by diverse authors, including:

 

Her publisher of choice to supply her with a lifetime of books is Penguin Random House.

I have been really lucky to work with Penguin Random House a few times in the past, and I would love to work with them again. I especially love how they have been celebrating authors of color in their classics line. 

 

 

 

image via @braveliteraryworld

 

 

Chapter 4: What does bookstagram mean to you?

Besides sharing her love of reading with the world, what are Esther’s personal hopes for her Bookstagram?

 

I love classic literature, and I love talking about them with other people. However, lately, I have also enjoyed using my account to showcase diverse voices, especially monumental works likeThe Woman Warrior orPalace of the Peacock that are less well-known. In addition, as of the past few months, my job as a 6th grade English teacher has led me to discover many amazing middle grade texts that I am excited to share with Bookstagram.

I tell my students to just read. Graphic novels, magazine articles, comic strips, audiobooks, whatever. Read, read, read. And don’t let anyone make you feel bad about what you like to read.

 

Well, what did you think about @braveliteraryworld? We love answering her book trivia highlight! Do you have a favorite Bookstagrammer in mind? Contact us through any of our social media platforms and maybe you will see them here next week! 

 

Want to see your favorite Bookstagrammer featured next? Message @bookstrofficial here.

 

Featured image via @braveliteraryworld

 

 

4 Books to Read By This Underrated Fantasy Writer

If you’re a fan of fantasy, you’ve probably read J.K. Rowling, Leigh Bardugo, and all the other must-read authors that swoop you up into a world of dreams and magic. But you may or may not have read Italo Calvino, an Italian journalist known for his short stories and whimsical fiction. Born in 1923, Calvino seems almost ahead of his time in fantasy and immersive settings. These magical twists always come when least expected because, in a Calvino book, anything is possible. If you want to take a dive into Calvino’s world (and come out feeling like someone unplugged your connection to reality), here are four books to try.

 

1. Invisible cities

 

Image result for italo calvino invisible cities"

image via atisuto17 on newgrounds.com

 

If you love urban fantasy, or you feel whispers of magic in the night lights of the city, Invisible Cities will feel absolutely unreal in the most beautiful way. In this collection of short stories, each chapter features the description of a whimsical city narrated by Venetian traveler Marco Polo who relays his travels through cities of memory, desire, design, the dead, and the sky.

There’s a spider-web city suspended above nothing but air on a series of nets, and inhabitants must climb around to get from place to place. There’s a city of waste where residents only use everything one time before throwing it away- one bar of soap per hand wash, one set of sheets and pillow per night’s sleep. There is a city that is forever under construction to prevent its destruction and a city of wells and buckets built over a massive lake.

Invisible Cities combines fantasy, metaphor, and social commentary in an absolutely breathtaking read.

 

2. IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER

 

Image result for book with cut up pages"

image via archzine.com

 

The first time you open If On A Winter’s Night A Travelerit’ll feel something like trying to read this. This book is about you, the reader, trying to read If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino, but you keep receiving incomplete copies missing parts of the plot, or completely different books altogether. As a result, If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler (and we never find out what that traveler does on a winter’s night) ends up combining about eight different plots for novels in total, each one more intriguing than the next. We never find out the endings. It’s just as frustrating as it is fascinating and addictive. In fact, this meta novel is more about the experience of the reader. Calvino uses the opportunity to make fun of books, readers, writers, publishers, translators, booksellers, and anti-readers in a way that’s strangely relatable.

If you love reading and meta stuff, this is definitely a book for you.

 

 

3. THE BARON IN THE TREES

 

Image result for baron in the trees"

image via dribble

 

When you were a kid, did you ever dream about running away from home and living in the forest, maybe building a treehouse where you can sulk in peace? The Baron in the Trees is the story of Cosimo di Rondó, a young Italian boy who had similar feelings after a fight with his family. He ran away into the trees and proceeded to live there for the rest of his life. Cosimo creates a whole world for himself in the trees, making friends, helping others, and solving worldly problems.

This book is for any fantasy lover who has elaborate dreams of escape into a world of their own making.

 

4. MARCOVALDO: The SEASONS IN THE CITY

 

Image result for seasons in the city calvino"

Image via ioannagalanomati.blogspot.com

 

I like to think of Marcovaldo as cartoons come to life. Marcovaldo is an unskilled worker living in an Italian industrial city. He’s just trying to live a normal life and care for his family, but more often than not his imagination gets the best of him. Imagine the scene in cartoons where a person gets covered in a pile of snow and becomes a snowman. This happens to Marcovaldo. Imagine the scene where a person falls asleep on a raft in the middle of a lake and drifts over a waterfall, still sleeping. This also happens to Marcovaldo. Anything and everything happens to Marcovaldo, and fantasy just keeps intruding on the boring monotony of his working life.

If you’re a daydreamer who would rather chase fantasy than stay grounded in reality, you’ll probably relate to Marcovaldo as much as I did.

 

Basically, if you’ve never read Calvino and you’re in the mood for some fantasy that is also self-aware and unique, you HAVE to try one of these.

 

 

 

Featured image via telegraph.co.uk

First Look At Netflix’s Upcoming ‘Dracula’ Adaptation!

Sink your teeth into this, vampire fans. A new Dracula tv series, based on the original novel by Bram Stoker, is coming to Netflix and the BBC. While not airing for quite a while (the supernatural drama is expected to air in late 2019 or early 2020), what details have been revealed are quite salivating. According to The Radio Times  the series will be a collaboration between the BBC and Netflix, with the two corporations working together to air the series. Dracula will be helmed by the creators of SherlockSteven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Dracula himself will be played by Claes Bang, a Danish actor who said he would be ‘thrilled’ by the opportunity. He was further quoted as saying:

 

“I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Dracula, especially when the script is in the hands of the incredible talents of Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and the team responsible for Sherlock.”

 

Bang will be joined by a wide ensemble of actors to help bring the bloody world of Dracula to life. Actors Joanna Scanlan, Chanel Cresswell, Matthew Beard, Lydia West, Dolly Wells, John Heffernan, Lujza Richter and Morfydd Clark, Paul Brennen, Sofia Oxenham, John McCrea, Phil Dunster and Millicent Wong will be joining the drama in as-yet unknown roles. Mark Gatiss himself will also be in the cast, having expressed an interest in playing Dracula’s mad henchman Renfield. But nothing is set in stone yet.

 

Image via The Radio Times

The show will last approximately three episodes, each of undisclosed length but since this is from the creators of Sherlock, we’re guessing each episode will be movie length in runtime, an hour or more to get their money’s worth of the material. The show’s plot will be, naturally, an adaptation of the Dracula novel but offering a new spin to make it relevant to modern audiences. Moffat said the show will re-centre Dracula as the hero of his own story, as opposed to the antagonist he was in the book and most other adaptations. He will be at the center of the action, as opposed to a more shadowy figure who makes fleeting appearances to menace the heroes. Moffat and Gatiss described the process as difficult, keen to give Dracula center stage but also not take away from his evil at all. They hope their hard work pays off and say they ‘handled’ making Dracula both the main character and truly evil. But we’ll have to wait to see how that plays out onscreen.

 

 

Image via The Radio Times

 

The series is currently in production, having recently completed its second episode. The show is currently filming at Bray Studios, Maidenhead, which was also the location of many classic vampire films starring Christopher Lee as the titular Count, made by Hammer Film Productions. Not much else is known about the show at this time, how closely it will adapt the book or even what the plot will be but the BBC released a short synopsis as a little teaser:

‘Three feature length episodes will re-introduce the world to Dracula, the vampire who made evil sexy. In Transylvania in 1897, the blood-drinking Count is drawing his plans against Victorian London. And be warned: the dead travel fast.’

We can’t wait to see this adaptation of a classic horror novel coming to television. We’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for further developments. Until then, watch the shadows and keep your garlic close!

 

 

Featured Image Via SyFy 

Happy Anniversary to ‘The Great Gatsby’!

Happy anniversary to The Great Gatsby! Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this seminal work was published on this day (April 10th) in 1925, at the height of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald’s novel takes place in the fictional towns of West and East Egg in Long Island, centering around the mysterious billionaire Jay Gatsby as told from the point of view of character Nick Carraway. The novel’s themes harshly critique the decadence of the American lifestyle, deconstructing idealism, social upheaval, hedonism, and resistance to change to reveal Gatsby’s story to be more tragic than aspirational, a cautionary tale about the American Dream itself. Masterfully written, the novel is considered a classic today for its themes, intimate portrait of the characters, and flowing prose.

 

Cover of the Great Gatsby, featuring a pair of eyes and lips over a glowing neon city

Image Via Wikipedia

 

But the American dream was as elusive for Fitzergald as it is for Gatsby: initially, the author’s master work looked like more of a mistake. The book sold poorly upon its release and received mix to negative reviews. Fitzgerald himself died young in 1940, sadly believing that his book was a failure. Of course, the story wasn’t over, even if Fitzgerald’s was. The Great Gatsby received a resurgence in popularity during World War II and today is considered a contender for the Great American Novel. Doubtless you’ve read it in high school, and hopefully, you liked it.

Gatsby has been adapted several times, its most famous ones being two big screen movies in 1974 and 2013. The former starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow while the latter starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire. Although both received mixed reviews, the latter was a massive box office success. Cheers to that!

Happy birthday, The Great Gatsby. We’ll send you off with an appropriate GIF…

 


Gif Via Giphy

Featured Image Via Deadline.

Check Out the Cinematic Inspirations for the Upcoming Joker Film!

How do you give a character who’s infamous for having no definitive origin an origin? Let’s face it: Joker has stayed around long enough because he’s fascinating, but it seems that we’re afraid that fascination might leave our collective consciousness if we know anything about him. So, again, how do you give a character who’s infamous for having no definitive origin an origin?

To answer this question, let’s starts with the basics:

Although we know now that Martin Scorsese won’t be producing the new Joker movie, his touch is still prevalent in the film. Thought interviews, official statements, and just the general feel from the trailer, we can see the cinematic inspirations bubbling to the frame.

Before we dive straight into this pool, let’s start with a little background. Specifically, let’s look at who’s producing this film. There are 3 of them.

 

3 Jokers

Image Via Fandom

 

Not them. Well, at least, I don’t think so… but let’s give a face to these three smiles.

 

 

Todd Philips

Image Via Vulture

 

First, we have Todd Philips, and he’s got an impressive resume. Not only was he the director of The Hangover Trilogy, Due Date, War Dogs, and now the new Joker Movie, but he was also one of the writers of Borat!: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which granted him an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay.

 

Rocket Racoon

Image Via CBR

Second, we’ve got Bradley Cooper. He’s the voice of Rocket Raccoon, and he made headlines in A Star is Born; that’s impressive enough without us mentioning his other films, like Silver Linings Playbook and American Sniper. (But we’ll mention those too.)

 

Emma Tillinger Koskoff

Image Via Zimbio

 

Third, but certainly not least, is Emma Tillinger Koskoff. You may not know her name, but you’re likely to know her work. Screenplay Daily broke the news a few years back that Koskoff joined the Martin Scorsese production company Sikelia Productions in 2003 and, in only a few short years, was promoted to Production President in 2006. She was one of the producers on The Wolf of Wall Street and has been a driving force in Scorsese’s films for the last ten years.

Come 2017, we got news that Scorsese himself would be the producer along with Scott Silver and Todd Philips. Todd Philips and Scott Silver are now the sole screenwriters, and Scorsese himself has left. But Emma Tillinger Koskoff stayed. Now it might seem I’m hammering this point in, and I am. With good reason.

Let’s look at what we got:

  • Exhibit A

Robert De Niro

Image Via IMDB

 

Robert DeNiro. Yeah, he’s really all we need. He’s been in a great many of Scorsese films, but his first notable one is Taxi Driver.

 

Taxi Driver Poster

Image Via IMDB

Here’s the premise, courtesy of IMDB: a mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.

Dark. Gritty. Grim. Those three words are most often used to describe this film. It’s a descent into madness as one man slowly loses himself in the crowds of the city. The film is rife with looming shots of harsh city streets, crowds bustling around and blending formlessly together, endless cigarettes being smoked down to the filter.

 

Joaquin Phoenix as a smoking Joker

Image Via Daily Mail

 

Sounds like anyone? Maybe you’re not convinced. Maybe the fact that Thomas Wayne is apparently running for Mayor in the upcoming film doesn’t mean Joaquin Phoenix will shoot him Tim Burton style with shots reminiscent of Robert DeNirio firing at Mayor Palantine. Maybe the fact Joaquin Phoenix ends up becoming the Joker doesn’t make you think of the movie where this guy…

 

 

Travis Bickle

Image Via Mental Floss

Became this guy.

 

The Taxi Driver

Image Via Rotten Tomatos

You talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here.

 

But these people were certainly reminded:

  • Exhibit B

King of Comedy poster

Image Via IMDB

 

Robert De Niro, but in The King of Comedy, which also was directed by Scorsese. Here’s the premise, again from IMDBRupert Pupkin is a passionate yet unsuccessful comic who craves nothing more than to be in the spotlight and to achieve this, he stalks and kidnaps his idol to take the spotlight for himself.

Let’s replace Rupert Pupkin with “Arthur Fleck” or “The Pre-Joker Joker,” and we got our Joker movie. Seriously. Just look at these images:
Joker poster
IMage Via Collider
Joker, head thrown back, sporting a white polka-dot suit.
Here’s a still from The King of Comedy:
Robert De Niro in a poka dot suit in The King of Comedy
Image Via Indie Wire
They wearing the same suit! Heck, the red suit Phoenix is wearing in these leaked set photos…
Joker in a red suit
Image Via USA Jacket
….looks like Pupkin’s.
Robert De Niro in a red suit in The King of Comedy
Image Via Public Transportation Snob
Tomorrow you’ll know I wasn’t kidding, and you’ll think I was crazy. But I figured it this way: better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime!
Polygon summed it up with this: “The script was reported to have ‘ties’ to The King of Comedy; the latest poster should dispel any doubts as to that being the case.”

That should be obvious. The King of Comedy is about a man who tries to be a comedian but doesn’t yet know that he just isn’t funny. And you know what?

 

Batman punching Joker

Image Via Zoom Comics

Batman thinks the Joker isn’t funny, but Batman isn’t in this movie, and that should scare us. When he kidnaps his comedic idol, played by Jerry Lewis, Pupkin doesn’t even have a loaded gun, but he’s absolutely terrifying.

“Tomorrow you’ll know I wasn’t kidding and you’ll all think I’m crazy,” Pupkin tells his idol, “but I figure it this way: better to be king for a night than a schmuck for a lifetime.”

 

King of Comedy ending

Image Via Youtube

Throughout this film, we are entangled in Pupkin’s brain, and in there it’s nothing but ego. Pupkin is funny. Pupkin is the greatest, loved by all, hated by only the fools. He’s a man who deserves his shot at the big leagues, and if he doesn’t get it, he’s going to loose it. Maybe he does. The ending of the film shows Pupkin getting what he wanted: a show with an eager audience who can’t get enough, but the tone leaves us unsettled. Is this real? Or has he become completely lost in the narrative of his own construction?

Fandom summed up the film as: “a cautionary tale about the kinds of rewards and adulations we shower on celebrities. Don’t be fooled by the word “comedy” in the title. This flick isn’t there to make you laugh. It’s there to scare you.”

 

 

Plus, Pupkin even meets up with another stalker, Masha, who aids him in his quest to kidnap Jerry and blackmail the studio into giving Pupkin his literal 15 minutes of fame. Notable, IGN notes that Marsha, played by Sandra Bernhard, delivers “a proto-Harley Quinn performance.”

 

  • Exhibit C

Raging Bull poster

Image Via IMDB

Then there’s Robert De Niro, but in Raging Bull, which was also directed by Scorsese. Here’s the premise, again from IMDBThe life of boxer Jake LaMotta as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside of it.

Raging Bull Opening

Image Via Mubi

I hear your words, “the Joker ain’t no boxer!” Well, he can fight, but that’s not the point. The film starts off in 1964 when an aging boxer named Jake LaMotta practices a comedy routine. The film is about how this man fights and keeps fighting, ultimately realizing his life is a joke. (And what a mood.)

 

Robert De Niro in Raging Bull

Image Via Robert Ebert.com

“I’m the best, I can take it more than anybody.”

 

It’s the internal life splattered on the silver screen, just like with Taxi Driver, just like with the next film we’re going to look at (yes, that too is Scorsese).

 

Art Fleck in the Joker Trailer

Image Via Digital Spy

Deadline even mentioned the film back when the movie was first announced in August of 2017:

The intention is to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era, like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or The King Of Comedy.

 

Joker in the Joker Trailer

Image Via Collider

In each of these three films, the character’s internal life is splattered on the screen. They are directionless people who find a direction that leads them hurdling towards a terrifying path.

“I used to think my life was a tragedy, but I now realize it’s a comedy.”

These films are character studies, which is exactly what Joaquin Phoenix has been gunning for. He told Collider:

Three or four years ago, I called my agent and said ‘Why don’t they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?’ And I thought, ‘You can’t do the Joker, because, you know, it’s just you can’t do that character, it’s just been done.’

Oh, it will be done, and I’m screaming for this movie. These films seem to serve as a template to give this classic comic book character a fresh new origin, and hopefully this film will be new but familiar territory instead of a whirlwind of a chaos.

But I’m hopeful, and you know why?

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Barstool Sports