Tag: Stephen King

The Latest Dirt on Jeanine Cummins’ Novel

Jeanine Cummins’ American Dirt has been deemed one of the most anticipated novels of 2020, included in Oprah Winfrey’s book club, and praised by Stephen King and John Grisham. Today, it’s being slated on twitter by literary fans and critics alike. This dichotomy of its reception puts the novel in a precarious position, with one foot on the side of success and the other in very hot water. When it comes to writing about race, sensitivity is one of the most important factors and Cummins’ latest novel is about Mexican immigrant experience, while Jeanine herself is not Mexican. This has set off alarm bells for a lot of people and raised questions about cultural appropriation and “trauma porn”. 

 

 

In a piece in the New York Times, Jeanine identifies herself as white, before going on to pen this novel about a Mexican mother and daughter and their tragic loss of family at the hands of a cartel. The pair must then escape to America. In the novel’s afterword, Cummins describes her motivation to write the novel as an effort to give a story to the “faceless brown mass” that immigrant communities are often seen as. This comment is, in itself, problematic as it raises the question of why Jeanine felt the need to individualize a “mass” of which she is not a part – the notion of the “white savior” comes to mind. 

 

image via slate

 

Fellow writers have shared their own opinions about the novel, either praising Cummins for her work or, more recently, slating it. Writer David Bowles, in a piece on Medium, stipulates that “Latina or no, Cummins certainly isn’t Mexican or Chicana. That’s a problem,”. What this suggests, is that the novel may well be “extraordinary” and well-written but its topic is still controversial and problematic.

 

 

Others have been critical of the plethora of errors and misrepresentations in Cummins’ descriptions of Mexico. This should come as no surprise when an author writes about a group with which they cannot personally or culturally resonate. In an interview with Shelf Awareness, Cummins spoke about her own hesitation to write American Dirt because of this. “I was resistant, initially, to writing from the point of view of a Mexican migrant because, no matter how much research I did, regardless of the fact that I’m Latinx, I didn’t feel qualified to write in that voice,”

If nothing else, this novel has already managed to fully divide readers and critics alike. Plus, the conversation around race and its misrepresentation in literature is one that certainly cannot be contained to American Dirt alone.

Featured image via Bookbub


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5 Long Books to Get You Through Long January

Does anyone else feel like January has been ongoing for approximately three years now? The holidays have passed, everyone is back to work and back to class, the light at the end of the January tunnel has never felt so far away. To help you through the remaining two weeks (three months in Jan time), we’ve compiled a list of lengthy books that you can lose yourself in this month. Before you know it, it’ll be February, and you’ll have serious bragging rights.

 

 

1. it by stephen King

 

image via amazon

 

Stephen King’s spooky It is as long as it is creepy. Coming in at 1138 pages, it is one of his longest novels. The story takes place over twenty eight years which is equal to one single January. Plus, if you factor in all the time you’ll spend having nightmares from reading it, you’ll definitely make it to the end of the month.

 

2. Ulysses by james joyce

 

image via amazon

 

James Joyce’s Ulysses is the ultimate way to get through the month. Instead of focusing on the January blues, lose yourself in Bloom’s instead! The infamous novel has a page count of 730 and with the time it’ll take to figure the story out, plus the time you’ll spend bragging about it after, spring will be hurtling towards you when you’re finished.

 

 

3. Lord of the rings by j.r.r. tolkien

 

image via amazon

 

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (as one unit) rings in at 1178 pages. If you get through that too quickly, try teaching yourself elvish. Before you know it, you’ll be one language smarter and ready to woo your S.O. for Valentine’s Day.

Bonus: check out our ranking of LotR covers here.

 

4. les misérables by victor hugo

 

image via penguin

 

Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables chronicles the misery of life in 1800s Paris in a hefty 1900 pages, making it the perfect length to see out the rest of the month. Compound this with the film adaption for the full experience. If you learn the musical’s songs, too, you could make it through January 2021, too!

 

 

5. Harry potter and the order of the phoenix by j.k. rowling

 

image via amazon

 

The fifth installment of Rowling’s Harry Potter series spans 870 pages. To read the entire series from beginning to end, it would take the average reader around two months. So if you start now, you can be finished by January 24th, and fit in another long read before February.

Happy reading! Two weeks to go, folks. We can do this.

featured image via kath walker illustration, flickr


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Inside The Outsider

Long live the King, because he’s done it again! Stephen King launched his newest thriller, The Outsider, in 2018, and trust us when we say that it is bone-chilling. And HBO seems to think so too, because yesterday they launched the premier of the 10 episode mini-series based on the book.

image via amazon

The Outsider presents the viewers with a case that is, in every literal sense, impossible. In small-town USA, an 11-year-old boy is found murdered and all evidences—eyewitnesses, security camera footage, fingerprints, DNA—point to one man, Terry Maitland, played by Jason Bateman (Bateman also directs). Here, however, is the catch — there is also legitimate proof that the prime suspect was elsewhere, and thus couldn’t have done the deed. So, this gives rise to an unexplained situation in which two polar opposite things are simultaneously true.

An impossible problem, of course, can only have an equally impossible solution, and the pressing issue in the plot is that the only place for it to go, eventually, is into supernatural territory, and we’re not mad about that. This makes The Outsider an even more gripping and haunting tale, which highlights an unspeakable crime and the strangeness it brought with it.

image via medium

The series may be slightly different from the book, but rumor has it that they may share the same ending. The book and the series continue to cast a chilly spell that creeps into ones bones, and its horror elements are used to amplify the investigation of everyday people’s struggles, with death, tragedy and adversity.

 

If you missed the trailer, here’s a sneak peak! But be careful, because it is creepy.

video via youtube

image via next season tv

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Featured image via HBO

5 Worst Horror Book Covers

Halloween is such a great season for scares, but what’s really scary is that a whole team approved these book covers for publication. I don’t know if these books are good, but I do know if I pulled any of them off a shelf they’d go right back there. Caution—they get increasingly stupid as you go down the list.

 

I’m So Scared… I guess…

 

Image via Too Much Horror Fiction

 

Is that a German shepherd? Even if it’s supposed to be a wolf, I’ve got some questions. Firstly, is this an entire book about a dog being evil or something? Putting aside the fact that ALL DOGS ARE GOOD, what can one dog actually effectively terrorize? A small colony of rabbits? Not to be dark, but hit that mangy upstart with your car and book over. I know I’m ignoring the elephant in the room, and sure, the doll’s at least broken, but I’m more alarmed by the fact that someone had a ceramic doll with a cheap weave. And are we sure the dog isn’t doing us a solid? That thing looks possessed.

 

 

Who is She?

 

Image via Spine Cracker

 

Not sure where to start. What’s that over the baby’s crib anyway? It’s not a mobile. Is it just a string of beads the size of oranges? Does being dead allow you to replace a bead with your head? It’s a specific power, but I guess I wouldn’t say no if someone offered it. Again, though, I’m ignoring the most mind blowing part. The tagline. I’m actually quaking, though I don’t think the fear of inconsistencies is the kind of terror they were going for. Listen. Listen to me. Look at that hair. Decadent? Decadent?!?! She doesn’t even have conditioner and they’re describing her as ‘so decadent?’ Seductive! I feel like there’s a lot to unpack, but I’m at a loss for words. Why is she balding?

 

 

Illustration is My Passion

 

Image via Horror Novel Review

 

They really did Stephen King like that. Stephen King! Say it with me. Respect. Genre. Fiction. What’s even going on here? The floating face is bad. I feel like someone needs to say that. His clothes are shredded, although maybe his jeans started distressed anyway. He’s not scratched up though! Whatever mauled him was like… panther attack, but make it fashion. I mean, it tells you nothing about the book, or at least, it doesn’t say anything to me, not having read it. But it goes further than that, and actively confuses me. What’s the threat? Witchcraft? Werewolves? He’s screaming but he hasn’t got so much as a scratch.

 

 

Wait a Second

 

Image via Good Show Sir

 

American Gothic, but like, a skeleton and also worse. But wait. What’s that there? Does the skeleton man… have a lobster claw? I’ve got to be honest, I’ve got no idea on this one. It’s like the Flying Dutchman, but in Michigan? I don’t know anything about lakes, but the internet says that they don’t have lobsters, so what, is this an oceanic curse that was like, you know what? I need to see the tulip festival. I now know about twice as much about Michigan as I used to. I still have no idea what’s going on. The barn has ghost crayfish? Something about that skull looks wrong, if I’m real.

 

 

Best Idea Ever

 

Image via Twitter

 

To be a fly on the wall in this pitch meeting. “Alright, hear me out: quicksand, but it’s sexy.” I mean the slime, the nudity, I’m not sure if they’re going to hang that guy or if he’s into it, and are those swamp monsters in the background? Skeletons? I just realized the naked woman has a sword. Is she beheading zombies in that getup? She’s like, sure this dress is see through, but if I’m going to effectively machete supernatural horrors, I need to be wearing LESS clothing. I feel like ‘sucking’ is also a little silly of a word if you want us to take this threat seriously. And what does it do? Follow you around trying to absorb you?

 

 

Featured Image via Wallpaper Access 

The Scariest Stephen King Stories

Its often said that Stephen King can make anything scary. Clowns. Dogs. Your next door neighbor. The master of horror can twist and weave his way into your psychosis with but a few words on the page. And seeing how its Halloween, let’s revisit King’s novels and take a look at his library to get spooked once again. Here are a few of King’s scariest works, best read after dark.

 

5. ‘misery’

Image via Amazon

Misery doesn’t have goblins, ghosts, or ghouls, but its horror is more frightening because its horror is based in reality. A chilling look at fandom gone wrong, this book tells the tale of what happens when a work of fiction becomes too much of an obsession. Writer Paul Sheldon suffers an accident during a snowstorm and is rescued by Annie Wilkes. Although seemingly sweet at first, Annie reveals she’s quite insane and is not happy with Paul for the ending of his last book, where her favorite character got killed off. So Annie takes Paul hostage and forces him to rewrite the book. A disturbing portrait of the more psychological variety, this one is also a disturbingly accurate showcasing of an obsessed fan that goes too far that rings even more true today.

4. ‘Night Shift’

Image via Den of Geek

Night Shift is an anthology of short stories that contain some of King’s best and scariest works. Included in this collection are Graveyard Shift, where a group of men investigate the abandoned basement of a steel mill and find it infested with giant rats. Quitters Inc. showcases a hapless smoker who will do anything to stop his addiction. The Mangler is all about an industrial laundry machine that gets possessed by a demon and how it violently kills those who come into contact with it. What are the rest? You’ll have to crack it open and see for yourself, if you dare.

3. ‘Salem’s Lot’

image via tor.com

Salem’s Lot is a chilling novel about vampires invading a small, sleepy little town with a lot of dark secrets. Full of genuinely horrifying imagery, lots of gore, violence, and very frightening vampires, this novel is not for the faint of heart but is sure to please any fans of the children of the night.

 

2. ‘Durma Key’ 

image via amazon

Durma Key is a lesser known Stephen King work but its just as gripping and scary as any mainstream novel. A scary, psychological story, we aren’t going to spoil anything of this one but its scary the same way Misery is. Its about the perils of creativity, the mysteries of one’s past, and with a touch of supernatural to add some spice, this one is one that should be read by more people.

1. ‘Pet Sematary’ 

imge via amazon

This is it. Pet Sematary is probably King’s scariest work. King himself almost didn’t finish it because of how upset it made him. Drawing inspiration from a relief life incident where King saved his young son from being struck by a truck, King spun this tale out of his own fears and it certainly shows. When a father’s son is hit by a truck, he buries him in a cursed burial ground that brings the dead back. Having already done this with his cat, the cat comes back meaner and seemingly undead. And when his son comes back, things take a turn for the absolute worst. Riveting, utterly terrifying, and full of frightening imagery, this book will linger with you in ways a book often doesn’t.

Featured Image Via Den of Geek