Tag: opinion

Stephen King Takes to Twitter With Some Thoughts on ‘You’

The Netflix/Lifetime show You, an adaptation of the novel of the same name, has been a controversial one.  While receiving critical acclaim, including a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, rave reviews, and a reneweal for a second season,  the show, has garnered criticism for what some view as its overly sympathetic portrait of the show’s protagonist and narrator, Joe Goldberg, portrayed by Penn Badgley.  Despite Badgley’s character engaging in stalking and eventually murder, the character sparked considerable sympathy from fans of the show, a lot more than perhaps the creators intended, despite his horrific and creepy actions throughout the season.

The latest opinion on the series comes from the King of Horror himself, Stephen King, who tweeted his thoughts on the series. The tweet can be seen seen below:

 

It is clear that King, like so many others,  enjoyed the adaptation and considered it an ‘interesting’ counter to the book. He seems to praise Joe in particular as a fascinating character, considering the two sides to his personality depending on who he interacts with. It would be great to get King’s opinion in the form of a longer piece but considering his writing schedule, we doubt he has any time.

What do you think of You? Do you agree with King’s opinion? What do you think of the adaptation and the novel? Tell us!

 

Featured Image Via Deadline 

Barnes & Noble Union Square

Save Barnes & Noble! Chain Bookstore In Danger of Closing

An opinion piece was released in The New York Times on Sunday entitled Save Barnes & Noble! which detailed the financial distress the bookstore chain is currently in and how, if we don’t speak out now, the entire company could go under and we could lose Barnes & Noble for good.

 

This prompted a slew of response pieces, along with the Twitter trend Save Barnes & Noble. Many Twitter users were quick to protect the bookstore chain, leaping to it’s defense:

 

 

Other users, however, were quick to point out that, at the end of the day, Barnes & Noble is still a Fortune 500 corporation. And that back in the 1970s and 1980s, the expansion of the chain, along with the discounted prices they began to heavily advertise, put thousands of independent and mom & pop bookstores out of business.

 

 

Personally, I feel pretty torn about this on so many levels. I do believe that it is vital for us as a society to protect and support independent booksellers, as opposed to the large capitalist corporations that already sort of run the world. And, as the author points out in this opposing article hereB&N being out-sold by a corporation as big as Amazon isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On Amazon, consumers are purchasing items through independent sources that then go through the Amazon website, resulting in a profit for both. So in a way, Barnes & Noble is actually losing out to the very bookstores they ran out of town years ago.

 

Still, it’d be hypocritical of me to say I don’t appreciate Barnes & Noble, corporation and all. I love B&N. It’s been my home away from home for so many different points in my life. When I lived wifi-less for six months, the B&N cafe was where I went to work. When I’ve needed a restroom, fast, while running around out in the world, I could always find a Barnes & Noble nearby. I met my favorite author there once and greeted him through a mess of shaky tears and nervous gyrating.

 

Whenever I’ve been in the mood to just wander around somewhere that smells like books, (mmmmmm… booksBarnes & Noble has been right where I needed it.

 

The loss of Barnes & Noble could potentially result in bookstores no longer being readily available in certain areas and that is both heartbreaking and nauseating on so many levels. People need books. People need bookstores. Bookstores will always act as a safe haven for many and we should ensure that they are easily accessible for all.

 

It is immensely important that everyone has equal access to books; books are essential to us as a society. And, without Barnes & Noble, they may be in danger.

 

It’s a tough situation for all. Still, if I had to choose, I think I’d risk being owned by a Fortune 500 company for the sake of keeping 600 bookstores afloat.

 

Featured Image via Mitzie Mee Blog

Books

8 of My Must-Reads Books From Different Genres

A friend recently asked me what my go-to genre of book is and I drew a complete and total blank. Had someone asked me in elementary school, I might’ve said anything non-fiction à la Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. In middle school I would’ve said Sarah Dessen’s romance novels without missing a beat. High-school me might’ve said “Salinger is my genre,” before moodily sliding back into marching band practice. 

 

But grownup me can’t even pretend to have any sort of clue. My favorite genre changes hourly, or more realistically, depending on my mood. Sometimes I want an easy breezy book of comedic short stories. Sometimes I want only the classics. 

 

So I’ve decided to compile a list of some of my go-to books under some different genres:

 

Classic: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Lolita

via Amazon

 

This novel still sparks an immense amount of controversy, as it should. Still, there’s something so eerily haunting about the humanization and empathy you begin to feel for protagonist Humbert Humbert, despite knowing everything he’s doing is wrong, so very wrong. The story never fails to keep me hooked while making me dizzy and uncomfortable in a way I’ve never felt before, and I think that’s something books were meant to do. Also, it’s so beautifully well-written it contains some of my favorite lines in literature of all time:

 

This then is my story. I have reread it. It has bits of marrow sticking to it, and blood, and beautiful bright-green flies.

 

Science Fiction: Under the Skin by Michel Faber

 

Under the Skin

via Amazon

 

I’m not really sure how to describe this story without revealing too much. Even if you’ve seen the adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson (which was incredible in it’s own, completely independent way) you can trust that, although similar, the two plots are very, very different. The first time I read this novel I went into it completely blind, which made watching the story unfold as Isserley learns more and more about herself, this new planet she inhabits, and the humans she sees a journey in itself. I would (and usually do) recommend this book to any and everyone. It’s one of the most unique and heartbreakingly stunning novels I have ever read. 

 

The past was dwindling, like something shrinking to a speck in the rear-view mirror, and the future was shining through the windscreen, demanding her full attention.

 

Comedy: Talk by Linda Rosenkrantz

 

Talk

via Amazon

 

This novel is unique because the entire storyline unfolds within dialogue between three friends, Emily, Vincent, and Marsha. The three thirty-something painfully narcissistic-yet-loving artists go through the trials and tribulations of money, sex, love, gossip, and friendship while lounging at their beach house in The Hamptons during the summer of 1965. It’s hilarious, charming, and relatable in the most unflattering of ways.

 

I don’t think novels can be written without the very sad and pitiful knowledge that they are totally self-conscious and ridiculous and untrue. I’m curious to see what Marsha does with hers. At least it’ll be true.

 

Memoir: Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

 

Running with Scissors

via Amazon

 

When I was fourteen, my older sister bought this book at a Target because she thought the cover was cool, leant it to me, and my life was forever changed. Burroughs’s story of being legally adopted by his delusional mother’s unorthodox (and completely insane) psychiatrist is hilarious and heartbreaking all at once. This book is so addicting it’s impossible to put down (or even just read once). And, another very cool thing is that Burroughs has gone on to release a slew of other memoirs that are just as incredible, making him one of my favorite authors of all time. I recommend anything he has ever written.

 

My mother began to go crazy. Not in a ‘Let’s paint the kitchen red!’ sort of way. But crazy in a ‘gas oven, toothpaste sandwich, I am God’ sort of way.

 

Dark/Suspense: Girls on Fire: A Novel by Robin Wasserman

 

Girls on Fire

 

This story centers around two teenage girls who form a friendship that quickly becomes co-dependent and destructive as they navigate high-school and girlhood in the 1990’s. It all sounds simple enough, until it begins to unravel down a dark and chilling path that will leave any reader disturbed. I’m not really sure what I can even say to do this novel justice. This is a book that (seriously) messed me up for a long time. I had nightmares for weeks. Still, it’s haunting in all the right ways, illuminates the power and vulnerability of youth, and shows how far people will go to keep their friendships intact. I think it’s something everyone should read.

 

Girls had to believe in anything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.

 

Romance: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

 

Norwegian Wood

via Goodreads

 

This stunning story centers on Toru, a college student in Tokyo, and his relationship (and near-obsessive love) with his old friend, Naoko, as she struggles more and more with her own mental health and emotional well-being. The story is so honest, relatable, and tragic in the most beautiful way. I’m not sure I’d even call it a romance novel (I mostly just wanted to put it on this list) because, at the core, it’s really just a story about humanity, growth, and what it means to mourn.

 

If you’re in pitch blackness, all you can do is sit tight until your eyes get used to the dark.

 

Essays: Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

 

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

via Amazon

 

Didion is one of the most iconic writers of all time, and for good reason. This was her first nonfiction release and contains her greatest Vogue essays (ie On Self-Respect) and more. Each piece is comforting, educational, and unique. Didion will make you think about the own ways in which you move about the world. She’ll also take you back to the sixties so you can witness the birth of the hippy movement and the shifts in music, drugs, and culture. This collection is never not exciting to read. 

 

Janis Joplin is singing with Big Brother in the Panhandle and almost everybody is high and it is a pretty nice Sunday afternoon.

 

Non-Fiction: The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth

 

The Mole People

via Amazon

 

This book is a collection of photographs, interviews, and first-hand accounts from a young reporter’s journey into the subway tunnels of New York City in 1993 and the communities that resided there. It’s an incredible look at homelessness that will educate you, crush any biases you may have, and break your heart all at once. It should be required reading. 

 

The tunnels comfort me, I guess, because they’re mine. They know what’s inside me and they feel the way I do. Always. Like, you know, when you bomb a test but it’s sunny outside? Well, that doesn’t happen in the tunnels,” she laughs. “They’re always dark inside, like me, but inside, I’m like the tunnel—dark, winding, and twisting.

 

Featured Image via Matthew Remski.

JK Rowling

Why I Unfollowed J.K. Rowling on Twitter

The more J.K. Rowling tweets, the more annoyed I get with her. Don’t get me wrong, I love Harry Potter. Love it, binged it, revisit it every so often. But all these little extra pieces of info Rowling spouts via her Twitter are really ruining it for me. 

 

When asked if there are any Jewish students in Hogwarts:

 

 

There’s just one. And he’s stereotypically named, and never mentioned in any of the 4,224 pages of the series. And it’s the same thing with Dumbledore’s sexuality. I’m all for a pivotal, respected character to be a part of the LGBT community, but why only disclose it after the series wraps?

 

Oh yeah, and then not include that information in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel. For someone who calls themselves an ally of the LGBT community, Rowling sure isn’t representing the community well.

 

Then there’s her defense of Johnny Depp, despite the allegations surrounding his divorce. Though allegations probably (definitely) isn’t the right word to use. 

 

And of course, there’s this mess with Lavender Brown:

 

Lavender Brown whitewashed

Image Via Tumblr

 

I’m not the only one annoyed by the iconic author. Entertainment Weekly has an entire column, aptly called “This Week in J.K. Rowling”. The New York Post begs Rowling to “Stop Ruining Harry Potter.” Others worry about Rowling “falling into the same trap as Star Wars‘ George Lucas” with ex post facto plot announcements like there are Jewish students at Hogwarts (but no Wiccans), Hogwarts tuition is free, and an American wizarding school. 

 

 

Following J.K. Rowling on Twitter feels like subscribing to Made Up Harry Potter Facts, so I unsubscribed. I’ll get my J.K. Rowling news from retweets and headlines.

 

Featured Image Via RTE. 

Girlounging reading

Why Reading Fiction Is Better For Your Brain Than Nonfiction

A couple weeks ago, I said to my friend, “You like books.” That’s what I do with my friends sometimes. I identify things they enjoy and I say those things out loud. When I told my friend that he liked books, he looked at the ground, kicked the dirt (we were actually not outside), and said, “Oh, I just read fantasy books. Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson. Those sorts of books.”

 

“Those are books,” I exclaimed. I was excited because those writers write books and he read the books those writers wrote. But he sounded sad. Forlorn even. Why, because, to him, fantasy books don’t count for anything.

 

My friend, thinking about his preference for fantasy literature. | Via GIPHY

 

It’s something a lot of people seem to think. Reading about orcs, dragons, sorcerers, or happiness are just things of make believe. They could never really happen. Thus, fantasy books are pointless. You don’t get anything from them besides some popcorn entertainment. Fantasy books are the literary equivalent of brainless summer blockbusters. That’s what the people say.

 

But is this true? No. It is not true. In fact, it’s the opposite of true. The more books are based in reality, actually, the less educational they are. There’s a direct correlation between fiction and education. The more fictitious a story is, the more educational value it has.

 

The way to think about this is putting nonfiction against fiction. Nonfiction can include biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, textbooks. Pretty much anything fact-based. The thing is people are only motivated to write and record facts when the facts are in some way notable. There are so many biographies written about people like Napoleon or George Washington or Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading about notable people does give you a useful glimpse into history, but those biographies were only written because those people don’t represent their time period. They were exceptional.

 

Reading about historical exceptions won’t really teach you much. You’ll learn about amazing people or events, but those amazing things aren’t representative of the largely mundane goings-on of most people’s lives. Like Mark Twain said,

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

 

In Poetics, Aristotle talks about the logic necessary to hold a story’s plot together. When you read a story, you’ll only sink into the story’s reality if the plot follows a logical sequence of events. There needs to be a logic that the story obeys. Logic is the thing that makes even the weirdest book familiar to the reader.

 

Logic isn’t taught to the reader at any point. It comes from living life. Nonfiction defies logic. Fiction is defined by logic. In this way, we can learn more about the logical cause-and-effect of life by reading fiction. A fiction author has to create characters, story, settings, and plot based on nothing but logic. By reading a good fiction book, the reader can see logic stretched to its furthest extent.

 

Via GIPHY

 

This all might seem a little abstract, so a concrete example in a bizarre work of fantasy is The Hobbit. As defined by Tolkien, hobbits are hothouse flowers, always staying in their little village, and never ever going on adventures. When Gandalf suggests Bilbo, a hobbit (THE hobbit, in fact), join an adventure to the Lonely Mountain, a bunch of dwarves laugh off the suggestion. Bilbo? An adventure? He’s a hobbit! But Bilbo joins just to prove those dwarves wrong. That’s the inciting incident and it happens through a logical series of events. It might be about wizards, dwarves, and some people called hobbits, but it follows the rules of basic human interaction. When someone says you can’t do something, you want to do it even more.

 

Reading a lot of fiction, then, makes the reader really skilled at identifying thought patterns. It makes certain scary or surprising decisions people make in the world more understandable. It ties really closely to empathy. When he appeared on The Late Show earlier this year, George Saunders said, “Empathy is like a superpower. Very robust if you do it.”

 

Very robust.

 

So, next time someone asks what you read, you should say loudly and proudly you read the silliest, most inconsequential fiction out there. Nonfiction is good too. It’s just less good than good fiction. So go read Patrick Rothfuss, friends. You’re smart too.

 

Feature Photo by mvp Via Unsplash