Congratulations to Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje, whose book The English Patient won the Golden Man Booker Prize on July 8th! For any book-lover, it goes without saying that the Man Booker Prize is one of the most important awards for novels written in English. The Golden Man Booker Prize aims to re-award the most distinguished Booker Prize-winning works in the past fifty years.
Ondaatje’s The English Patient won the prize in 1992 for its great portrayal of the society and mentality during World War II. Defeating the other four works nominated, The English Patient got 9,000 votes and became the winner of The Golden Booker Prize. According to the judge Kamila Shamsie, the novel “moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate–one moment you’re in looking at the vast sweep of the desert, and the next moment watching a nurse place a piece of plum in a patient’s mouth…It’s intricately and rewardingly structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page.”
“There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lovers enter the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in a new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire.”
Image via Amazon
The novel takes place during World War II. The title of the novel refers the mystery pivoting around the leading character—an injured and amnesiac pilot of a bomber. Severely burned in the accident and then carefully cared for by Hana, a young Canadian army nurse, “the English patient,” (what everyone in the hospital calls him due to his accent,) is searching for his memories. The more pieces of past he collects, the more oscillating the narrative becomes—by this I mean, Ondaatje in this work intellectually explores the boundaries: of time, space, morality, text, gender, and race. Though many people would read this novel as a romance, it is amazing to examine how Ondaatje deals with the issue of “peace”— both inside and outside.
In 1999, author Laurie Halse Anderson released a young adult novel entitled Speak that would result in widespread conversation and a shift in the way we view and talk about sexual assault.
The novel spread quickly and rooted itself deep, still being something that is read and taught in classrooms across the globe today, even resulting in a movie adaptation starring Kristen Stewart.
**Speak Spoilers Ahead**
Speak is written through the perspective of high school freshman Melinda Sordino as she struggles with finding her place after being completely ostracized and isolated by her peers for calling the police during a party. Melinda begins shutting down more and more, solely expressing herself through art projects; she hardly verbalizes anything aloud at all. What her classmates and friends fail to understand is that Melinda was raped by popular senior Andy Evans at the party and, in a moment of panic and disembodiment, called the police. By the time the police arrived, Melinda found herself in a state of dissociation, unable to say what had occured. She buries the assault deep inside of her, confiding in no one.
Speak is brutal, honest, and so, heartbreakingly real in the way it describes sexual assault it sparked a fire of conversation revolving around a side of sexual assault and rape culture that hadn’t yet been seen in the media. I remember first reading the book when I was about eleven years-old and the impact and mark it imprinted on me; it’s a novel I’ve never been able to forget.
Laurie Halse Anderson was inspired by her own sexual assault to write the novel, hoping to incite some sort of change. Now twenty years later and frustrated with the fact that, although the conversation regarding rape culture has changed, the culture itself is still very much problematic, Anderson has penned a new memoir centered around the subject.
The memoir is called Shoutand is a free-verse work of nonfiction detailed Anderson’s own rape, her fight to overcome the emotional aftermath, and her journey into finding some sort of healing. Anderson recently spoke out about the upcoming memoir, saying:
I lost my voice for a very long time after I was raped. I lost myself, too. Shout is a poetry tapestry that shares the darkness of my silent years and shows how writing helped me speak up. Shout is a declaration of war against rape culture and a celebration of survival.
And, in a time of sexual assault being so prevalent it seems like there’s a new case appearing in the media daily, this memoir can’t come soon enough.The way we speak about rape and assault has shifted and progressed so much that it can be easy to feel like society, as a whole, has finally progressed past it. But believing that would be ignoring that disgusting-but-real truth that one woman is assaulted in America every 98 seconds. Just because sexual assault is being talked about widely and predators like Harvey Weinstein have been brought down, doesn’t mean we can grow complacent.
According to RAINN1 out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (this statistic increases to 1 out of four women while attending college in the United States). And 94% of sexual assault victims will suffer from PTSD.
Sexual assault is so prevalent within our society I don’t think I, personally, know any women who haven’t been sexually assaulted or raped. It’s vital that we keep speaking up about it and that we listen when others rise to share their stories. It’s so weighing for women to be living in a constant state of fear, of never walking home alone at night, of “please stop following me”, of “text me when you get home safe” because we all know the reality of danger constantly hanging over our heads.
There can no longer be a stigma surrounding this because our well-being, and the well-being of our sisters, is always at risk. Laura Halse Anderson is doing such brave, powerful, revolutionary work (work that she’s been doing for the past two decades).You can’t miss out on this book. Share it with your family and friends. Keep standing up and speaking out.
And if you’re one of the many of us who’ve been victims of sexual violence, understand that it is no way your fault. You are not alone because you are standing alongside all of us, arm in arm.
While fans patiently await the third season of Netflix’s hit show, Stranger Things, fans can soon get their fill of 80’s pop culture nostalgia with new books being published by Penguin Random House as soon as this fall. The worldwide publishing deal between Netflix and Random House will feature a behind-the-scenes companion book, a hardcover gift book for young readers, and a prequel novel about Eleven’s mother and the MKUltra program.
While the companion book will tie over fans until the fall premier of the third season, author Gwenda Bond will be writing the prequel novel set to follow Eleven’s mother, Terry, and her entry into the MKUltra program, as seen briefly in season one of the show.
The author took to twitter to express her excitement and to share her own 1960’s and 70’s-themed playlists to accompany the prequel.
It’s about Eleven’s mother Terry and her intersection with the MKUltra program and you’re going to get to know and love her in a whole new way. I’m SO EXCITED.
Given the popularity of the series, the novels will be a fantastic way to flesh out the world and its characters, giving them opportunities to develop the world past the screen. Seeing as the creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, only expect the series to last four or five seasons, the novel expansions will be a great opportunity to continue the story even after the show ends.
Popular film and television actor Amber Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Joan of Arcadia) will be releasing her debut novel this month.
Image Via HarperCollins Publishers
The book is entitled Any Manand details the story of one woman, Maude, as she hunts down men in bars, online, and even from within the comfort of their own homes and sexually assaults them in the most horrific of ways. The entire story takes place through the perspectives of the victims as they struggle against a justice system that doesn’t believe them, friends and family who shame and alienate them, and a media that hounds them while revealing their personal lives and the details of their assaults to the public.
The novel is meant as a commentary on rape culture and a society that is so obsessed with views and the idea of celebrity that it doesn’t consider the lives it is damaging when it forces victims into the limelight. It also shows the ways in which victims of sexual assault are shamed, quieted, and tossed aside; along with the power and strength it takes to survive something so horrific.
It’s also interesting that the novel flips the story so the assailant is a woman and the victims are men. When asked about this, Tamblyn toldBuzzfeed:
“By flipping the gender norms of rape culture, I hope to elicit some fresh, challenging conversations and examinations of who we are as a society while also allowing readers to relish in what I hope will be one of the most vile, heartless, and haunting female protagonists in modern American fiction.”
The novel sounds like it will be dark, unsettling, and all too relevant in a society in which, according to RAINN, an American is assaulted every ninety-eight seconds and one out of every six women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
The epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses was revealed in the Emmy-nominated documentary The Hunting Ground; showing how colleges fail to protect, acknowledge, and find justice for victims despite the fact that one in four women will be sexually assaulted while attending college.
This is why Any Man is extremely important and, as someone who has publicly spoken out against assault before, it’s no surprise Tamblyn would choose this as the topic for her first novel.
However, despite this being her first extended work of fiction, Tamblyn’s not exactly new to the writing scene. She has a collection of chapbooks she’s self-published and released over the years, along with a collection of poems she released with Harper Collins in 2015 that describes what it means to be an actor in Hollywood, many famous celebrity deaths, and how it feels to be constantly in the limelight, Dark Sparkler.
Life is short. You can, if you work hard and are lucky, get more of almost anything, but you can’t get more time. Time only goes one way. The average American has a lifespan of less than 30,000 days. So how you choose to live matters.
That’s the topic of this book. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m still learning every day, and many of the good ideas here I’ve picked up from other people either directly or by reading. But this is what’s worked for me. (Via Amazon)
This is a self help book for people who don’t have time or are wary about reading self help books. It’s an easy to read book that will fill you with optimism. You might even finish it by Tuesday!
Conceived while his father, Bear, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, Pinch learns quickly that Bear’s genius trumps all. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy of his father’s attention–first trying to be a painter himself; then resolving to write his father’s biography; eventually settling, disillusioned, into a job as an Italian teacher in London. But when Bear dies, Pinch hatches a scheme to secure his father’s legacy–and make his own mark on the world. (Via Amazon)
Tom Rachman is the author of The Imperfectionists,which has been translated into over 20 languages, and Basket of Deplorables, a collection of short stories that provides a satirical look at current America. The Italian Teacher is a book of never-ending hope and perseverance. It may ignite a fire in you to do something you haven’t been able to.
“The strange, illuminative true story of Tommy Nutter, the Savile Row tailor who changed the silhouette of men’s fashion—and his rock photographer brother, David, who captured it all on film.” (Via Amazon)
Take a look back at an influential era in fashion and music through the hands of the ‘rebel’ tailor to the stars and the eyes of the photographer who made sure they were seen. This book recounts the trials and triumphs of two brothers who helped make things happen. It’s chock full of interviews, contains close to 200 pictures, includes diary entries, letters, and drawings. House of Nuttter is sure to delight you and provide that enthusiasm you need to make it to Friday.