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Showing posts from 2018

If You Love Reality TV, Here’s What You Need To Read

This is a guest post by Laura Heffernan.
America’s obsession with Reality television spans more than twenty-five years, ever since The Real World debuted on MTV in 1992. Even the show’s headline was ground-breaking: “This is the true story of seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped. Find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” 
What? True stories that weren’t on the news? Seven people who wanted to live with strangers and go about their real lives? What was this? Well, turns out, it was pretty fascinating. From that one show, hundreds have spawned. Some, like The Bachelor are wildly popular, with dozens of seasons. (The Real World has 32 seasons.) Others fizzled quickly, forgotten after a few months. Bachelorettes in Alaska, anyone? Average Joe? The Glass House? Paradise Hotel?
So what is it about reality shows that makes it so appealing? TV networks like them because of their cheap production. Real people work for less money t…

We Are Okay | Nina LaCour

I was okay just a moment ago. I will learn how to be okay again.”
Genre: Young Adult. Number of Pages: 256. Perspective: First. Location: New York and California.
This book is about Marin, who leaves for college and ignores everyone from her past after her grandfather dies. Her best friend tracks her down to get her to come home and to find out what really happened. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Every once and awhile you find a book that can just consume all of your emotions. This was it. It honestly took me a while to get into it because I kept getting distracted with other books. But once I actually focused on reading it, I read it all in one sitting. It also won my Best Book Award.
This book is about love, loss, grief, death, mental health, LGBTQ, growing up, and so much more. If you skimmed through it, there are so many nuances you would have missed. The plot is smaller than most young adult books, but every detail was intentional and so meaningful. It is more about the emoti…

It's a Writer Thing -- Why I Write

This is a guest post by Jessica Bayliss. 

I came to writing at a time when I was tired, worn out, burned out. I’d just finished my degree in psychology, which involved many years of classwork, exams, and applying for multiple training positions—many of which required competing against other students for scarce spots. For a decade, I did little for me other than my absolute necessities. I missed sleep, I missed parties, I missed trips. I stayed home when everyone else went and had a good time.
I told myself it was worth it.
And ten, a decade later, I was done, and instead of feeling energized, I was tired. And so I wrote. I wrote not knowing if I’d finish my first book. I wrote not knowing how to write at all, not really, not the way that works for fiction, but I did it anyway. And before that first book was done, I was ready for more and ready to put myself out there. My first queries met with only rejection, which was appropriate—they were terrible—but at that time, I didn’t understand …

Magic and Mob Mentality

This is a guest post by Jeffrey Bardwell. 
Sorcery, wizardry, magic . . . call it what you will, but such powers are rarely subtle in the realm of fiction, unlike the realm of reality where almost everything is hidden and obscured by misdirection. A powerful wizard with bristling beard and tall staff will rain fire from the sky. A street performer in a top hat will conjure flames from his fingertips. These are the polar ends from a gradient of effects of course. Nothing prevents a stage act from being bombastic or a wizard’s staff emitting a quiet glow in lieu of crackling flames. The result is the same among the gathered mob: awe and the persistent question, what just happened?
This awe is in part sparked by the unnatural quickness of the street performer’s nimble fingers or the wizard’s vicious attack. Much of the shock during and after magic is from the illusion of speed. People tend to fear what their eyes cannot follow, what their mind cannot perceive. One of the most fearsome crea…

The Woman in the Window | A.J. Finn

My head was once a filing cabinet. Now in a flurry of papers, floating on a draft.”
Genre: Psychological Thriller. Number of Pages: 432. Perspective: First. Location: New York City.
Anna is trapped in her house due to dibilitating agoraphobia, so she spends her days watching out her many windows. When she sees her new neighbor get stabbed, she needs to find a way to prove what she saw without leaving the safety of her own home. For a complete summary, you can go here.
I have to admit, I figured this was going to be another over-hyped book. I basically wrote it off before even opening it. Yeah, yeah, another unreliable narrator thriller. Yeah, another Woman on/in the [insert noun] book. But this had so many elements that were unique. It definitely lived up to the hype. 
About halfway through I thought I had the whole book figured out and assumed it would be a four star book. But this book has so many amazing twists. There was one big twist that I guessed, so I patted myself on the back. But …

The Opposite of Loneliness | Marina Keegan

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.”
Genre: Essays/Short Stories. Number of Pages: 208. Perspective: Alternating.
This book is a collection of short stories and essays gathered by Marina’s professors and family after her death. She died in a car accident shortly after she graduated from Yale and was set to work for The New Yorker. For a complete summary, you can go here.
I had so much hope for this book. The title made me think this was going to be an uplifting book for Millennials. Nope. Utterly depressing. First of all, the background of this story is just sad. You are led to believe that this girl was some writing prodigy who’s potential and amazing career was cut short by her untimely death. Yes, maybe she had promise, but these stories were no masterpieces. The introduction by her professor was the best part of the whole book. But it also set my expectations way too high for the stories that followed.
I seriously …

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