The Final Chapter
"On Writing" b. Stephen King- One of the few non-fiction books to make Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 New Classics list, this is one of the best books on the art of writing. Regardless of what you think about King's own work, he offers valuable tips and tricks of the trade. The first half gives you a little background and bio info on the author, including how he finally came to be published. What I enjoyed the most about this section, were his thoughts and recollections after he was nearly killed by a car while walking near his home. I also liked how he was the first to admit that sometimes he broke his own guidelines, but always wished he were "strong enough" to not do it again. A great read for King fans, budding authors, or those who just want to learn more about writing.
"Practical Magic" b. Alice Hoffman- I've seen the Sandy Bullock/Nicole Kidman movie more times then I care to admit, so I finally decided to read the book. Wow! I loved it even more. It is clear where the movie story line came from, but the book not only expands on it, it takes you in completely different directions. This book won the coveted "Best Book I Read All Year Award", and was gifted to my sister upon her graduation. She read it and loved it as well (which is no small feet considering reading is one of the few things she is not good at. The book must capture her immediately or forever be lost to the growing pile on her book case).
"Rebel w/o a Crew: Or How a 23-year-old Filmmaker w/$7000 Became a Hollywood Player" b. Robert Rodriguez- It is no surprise that I love to read about film making as much as I love watching films. Rodriguez's autobiography is genius, expanding on what you already know (he was a paid guinea pig) to things you don't (The sound for "El Mariachi" was recorded on tape using a basic tape recorder, resulting in some of the best sequences since the sound didn't sync up- he had to get creative). The is a must for all movie lovers, biography fans, and those who think they can't do something.
"Running Wild" b. J.G. Ballard- Ballard is more famously known for his book "Crash" then this novella, but it remains one of my favorites. Set within the walls of a pre-fab gated community, we join the "looky-lou's" who have gathered outside along with the police and news reporters. What happened? Why are we here? Where has everyone gone? The answers to these questions and more will shock you and keep you in suspense to the very end. LOVE!!
"Shade" b. Neil Jordan- Jordan is probably most familiar to you as the Academy Award winning Irish director behind some of the best and most interesting movies: "The Butcher Boy", "The Crying Game", and "Interview with the Vampire" to name a few. What you may not know is he actually started his career as a writer. Shade is his 5th book and one of my all time favorite reads. The book opens with the death of the main character and what follows is her account of how she ended up "in the dark". Don't write this off as a "The Lovely Bones" knock-off. The characters and ambiance that Jordan evokes cannot be matched. I found myself reading this book well into the night, desperate to find out how it all comes together.
"The Turn of the Screw" b. Henry James- I won't go into this one too much as it was featured in a previous post. I wrote my Freshman research paper on this book in High School much to the chagrin of my teacher. It is a classic ghost story which begs the question: "Is she crazy or not?" What makes this book different from so many others is it never really answers that question. It's up to the reader to decide, and no two people will take away the same conclusion.
"The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible" b. A.J. Jacobs- I love to learn and read about religion, it's fascinating. Journalist Jacobs vows to live the Bible as literally as possible, and somehow remain married in the process. Some of the best parts are when he travels the country, talking to Rabbi's, Priest's, Shaman's, etc. When he builds what is basically a yurt in his NY living room, I laughed out loud! He's like a subjective Ned Flanders. I have read the Bible, though that is not a prerequisite for reading this book. He breaks down each passage into easy to understand reasoning and follows it up with pro and con points of view.