Book Review: Scarred Hearts by Max Blecher

Scarred Hearts, one of the few published works by Max Blecher, is a novel of pain and suffering. The author, who lived most of his life under the auspices of a dreadful disease, died at the age of 29. But even though this is a novel in which the characters live under the constant threat of death, even though their lives are bitter and painful, his little characters find enough strength to fall in love, to mold the most human of feelings and experiences after their own needs. Continue reading Book Review: Scarred Hearts by Max Blecher

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Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

From the book’s description:

Unfinished at the time of his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon is a story of doomed love set against the extravagance of America’s booming film industry. The studio lot looks like ‘thirty acres of fairyland’ the night that a mysterious woman stands and smiles at Monroe Stahr, the last of the great Hollywood princes. Enchanted by one another, they begin a passionate but hopeless love affair, starting with a fast-moving seduction as slick as a scene from one of Stahr’s pictures. The romance unfolds, frame by frame, watched by Cecilia, a thoroughly modern girl who has taken her lessons in sentiment and cynicism from all the movies she has seen. Her buoyant humor and satirical eye perfectly complement Fitzgerald’s panorama of Hollywood at its most lavish and bewitching.

If the great Francis Scott Fitzgerald would have finished writing this novel, it would have been his masterpiece. Yes, it would have been better than The Great Gatsby, which is my favorite novel of all time, and the only piece of writing I’ve been reading once a year since I was seventeen. Besides Dune. Continue reading Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

What Really Sells a Book?

Some might say the trickiest part is actually selling the book. Or writing it? Opinions differ. But what really sells a book? What marketing tool? What recipe to follow? Is there a recipe?

Well, let’s analyze one of my favorite novels, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and hope that I’ll be able to offer some insight as to how people decide to buy a book. Continue reading What Really Sells a Book?

Four Books about Rebels

Remember this commercial?

Well, the truth is that there will always be rebels. The crazy ones. The ones who are cursed with knowledge of possible futures, rather than the known hell of the present.

And literature has its fair share of rebels, of characters who don’t think outside the box, but they think like there’s no box. Outsiders, weirdos, eccentrics, all of them are allowed a bit more freedom within the confines of books than they ever were allowed in real life.

So, yeah, here are four books about rebels. For rebels. Continue reading Four Books about Rebels

Book Review: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: and Other Stories by Carson McCullers

From Amazon.com:

A classic work that has charmed generations of readers, this collection assembles Carson McCullers’s best stories, including her beloved novella “The Ballad of the Sad Café.” A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose café serves as the town’s gathering place. Among other fine works, the collection also includes “Wunderkind,” McCullers’s first published story written when she was only seventeen about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist. Newly reset and available for the first time in a handsome trade paperback edition, The Ballad of the Sad Café is a brilliant study of love and longing from one of the South’s finest writers.

There’s something about these stories that makes you empathise with the human condition; we are who we are when we can help it, when there’s nothing else to be but ourselves.

We are who we are because someone has to be.

The characters that inhabit these little stories are what one would define as misfits, rebels. But that’s the magic of stories: we realize that we are all made of the same stuff. We are all human. We are all the same. Different, but the same. At the same time. The paradox of human nature.

What I am trying to say is that these misfits feel the same emotions as we do, and they teach us so much about ourselves, our own fights and defeats, and also make us realize that oftentimes what sets us apart must also make us feel lonely/live a life of solitude.

A must-read, The Ballad of the Sad Café contains stories about other people, stories about the kind of people that we might never encounter in real life, but those stories teach us so much about ourselves.

Book Review: A Knight of Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin

Taking place a hundred years before the events in the Game of Thrones, A Knight of Seven Kingdoms adds a bit more to the incredibly complex universe imagined by George R.R. Martin.

Dunk and Egg are as unlikely a duo as some of the most popular duos of the main series. Also, it is a welcome change to read about a world ruled by the Targaryens. A world at the crossroads of being changed forever. Continue reading Book Review: A Knight of Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin

Book Review: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favorite writers. His style is unmistakable, his characters are brilliant, and at times, his writing is flawless.

And Fight Club is one of his best works so far. His debut novel, rejected countless times because it was too gory, like all of Palahniuk’s other novels, is a satire of the modern world. Continue reading Book Review: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk