Books I Read This Month - January 2011

Bad Twin - Gary Troup
Be prepared to roll your eyes. This book was ghostwriter for a fictional character, Gary Troup, by Laurence Shames. Gary Troup (prepare yourself) was a character from the show LOST. He was a writer whose manuscript was found in the plane crash on the island. Troup never actually appeared on the show, only his name on the cover. A character started reading the manuscript, but he dropped it in a fire and was never able to read the ending. So I wanted to. :) Enough about LOST. This book, though I am biased, was really good. It was a crime novel about a private detective hired to find a wealthy missing twin brother. It was character driven and had great themes: good vs. evil and choice vs. destiny. I thought it was awesome.

Don Quixote - Cervantes
Weird book, kind of hard to read since it's old and translated from Spanish. It was still pretty good, though.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
I saw the movie for this a long time ago, but I think the book was better. This is a great story about community and sacrifice. A good book, a classic.

Under the Dome - Stephen King
When the name of the author is in a larger font on the cover than the title of the book, you know he's good. And Stephen King is good. This was a great book that I recommend to you to read, if you haven't already. It's over a thousand pages, though, which is kind of intimidating, but it was actually a quick read.

Tell All - Chuck Palahniuk
I'm not sure if I liked this or not. I do respect the author a lot, though, because it seems like a lot of research had to go into it. Unless he's just very cultured. Maybe I didn't understand the plot fully, but I could take or leave this one.

Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane
So I went to the library and checked out like three Dennis Lehane books, so excuse the amount of him on this list. I saw the movie before I read this book, and I wish I hadn't because the ending wasn't all that exciting for me. If I hadn't have seen the movie already, it would have been a surprise, like the movie was to me. But besides that, Lehane is a wonderful writer, and I enjoyed this book. If you haven't seen the movie, then read this first! Then watch the movie, since that was really good too.

Gone Baby Gone - Dennis Lehane
I didn't see this movie, and after reading the book, I'm kind of indifferent to seeing it eventually. I liked Shutter Island better than Gone Baby Gone. It's not like I was disappointed or didn't like the book. I did like it. But you know, it's not like I would read it again or anything.

Mystic River - Dennis Lehane (again)
Pretty good. This one was better than Gone Baby Gone but not as good as Shutter Island. Sorry to you guys if I don't go into as much detail about books as other reviews do. But sometimes I just don't have much to say about it other than 'it was good.' (Conversely, there are books about which I could go on and on and on and on.) This one was good. It was entertaining and fun and thought-provoking, but it's not going to be on my favorite shelf or anything.

Dexter Is Delicious - Jeff Lindsay
I love the show Dexter. Michael C. Hall is an underrated actor with a voice almost as awesome as Morgan Freeman. Most people say they would have Morgan Freeman narrate their life, but I would choose Michael C. Hall. But we're not here to talk about him. We're here to talk about the book. This is the fifth book in the series. I read the other ones, of course, and the first one was the best. After that, they kind of went downhill a little bit. Dialogue is also not Lindsay's strong suit. But there is a lot of playful alliteration and play on words that make serial killers seem a little more fun and loveable. I'd recommend starting with the first book. If you like the show, the first book was the basis for the first season, but afterward, the two series separated a bit. I think besides the first book, the TV show is better than the books. They're still alright though. I'm just afraid Jeff Lindsay may have become a sell out.

My Booky Wook - Russell Brand
Every once in a while, like once or twice each year, I discover some fantastic actor or musician, usually a man, and I become absolutely, irrevocably, thoroughly, and possibly unhealthily obsessed. This time around it's Russell Brand. I had a bout of Jude Law last year (The Holiday is still my favorite movie of all time) but I kind of ran out of material. Then I was in love with John Lennon for a while, though he won't be pumping out any new material any time soon on account of he's no longer living. Yes, they are all Englishmen. I'm so cultured. Ahem, back on topic. I saw Get Him To The Greek a few weeks ago and loved it. So I bought Russell Brand's first memoir. He has a second one out already, and I'll probably go get that one if it's in paperback. This guy has led a very interesting life. He's a comedian and actor and writer and musician who is married to Katy Perry and has been clean from drugs and alcohol for eight years. Obviously this book has some intense content in it. I got to around page 100, hoping the rest of the book would be happier than what I'd read so far, but then I realized that he hadn't even become a drug addict yet and I had to take a breather. But he has this way with words that's just so, Aaaaah. And FUNNY! And it brought tears to me eyes on more than one occasion. Russell's attitude on life is so wonderful after everything he's been through. I respect him so much for this and his talents and his spirituality and his mindset and his humor especially. Plus he's really sexy. I think I may, I think I might, have to do an entire post on this book some time. Although it's a memoir, so the post would be less of a book review and more of a rant about Russell Brand, so let's kindly excuse this idea, as I'm sure you would like me to stop rambling now and just tell you to read this book and watch some of his movies. Funniest stuff I've seen in a long time. I just love this guy.

The Stranger - Albert Camus
This was good. The syntax, the prose, or whatever you want to call it, was very interesting. And the whole message of the book was great and I could really relate to it, even though it was about some Algerian man arrested for murder. That's how you know it's good, when you can really connect to the story when it's something completely opposite of yourself.

Peace, Aimee

All That Jazz

Finding things to write about is something I have trouble with often, mostly because I'm pretty much still a kid, living in the lower-middle class in a very peaceful town. Honestly, I haven't had a very interesting life so far. I'm hoping that will change, and I know how I can lead a satisfactory life, so I'm not worried about it very much. My life is boring, which sucks for now, since I've already lived about a quarter of it. I'm having somewhat of a quarter life crisis. If you can tell me which artist and which song this is from, I will love you forever.

"They" say to write what you know. This is a problem for me because I don't know very much. The world is a big, complicated place, and I've only been to like 1% of it, if that. I've never held a job besides babysitting, I've never done any hard drugs or had a serious relationship, and I've never been to foreign country besides Canada, which isn't all that foreign, since I really only live about 100 miles from the border. I'm kind of too lazy to do a lot of research. Maybe I look up what places look like, and I've learned a bit about other religions and politics, but not much else. I try to write about people of other races and religions because I believe in world peace and respecting everyone. It goes with the themes I write about: love and peace and all that jazz.

So my question to you is how much of your writing comes from life experience? Do you "write what you know" or do you do research or just make it all up?

Peace, Aimee

Mythology In Writing

Please excuse me if I bring up LOST in this post.

Mythology is a pretty big part of human culture, whether we notice it often or not. Think about Egypt and Greece for a moment. And Norse mythology too. There is stuff we see every day that relates to it. There are weird creatures and interesting people and useful lessons in the mythology of all cultures that we encounter in reading (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and many, many others) and in movies (Inception had a lot in there) and in television shows (cough, cough, LOST; I could go on and on about this one) and maybe we have even used it in our own writing.

This is a broad topic, and there are many things to discuss here, so why don't we just have a little comment chat, you know, if anybody actually reads my humble blog. So whether it's naming characters and giving them traits that correspond with it or it's using mythology to reveal your theme, what is it that you do in your own writing, no matter what the culture?

Peace, Aimee

Cool Things and The Places I Visit Most Often On The Internet

Before we get started today I'd like to point out to you that I added word count widgets in the sidebar, you know, just in case you're interested in knowing how my writing is going. This prevents me from talking about it all the time in my blog posts. It won't be necessary for me to go on and on about how frustrated I am about my writing being stagnant because it's right there on the page, so I would feel self-absorbed blogging about it; that way you won't have to hear about it all the time. So there you go. You're welcome.

I'm sure most, if not all of you have been to the ex-literary-agent Nathan Bransford's blog and forums, but if not, here is the link. It is the best tool for writers that I have found on the internet. I'm seriously on it every single day. There is great writing advice, and the community is wonderful.

As you probably know, I am a big advocate for peace. I really support a non-profit organization called Peace One Day. The founder, documentary film maker Jeremy Gilley, is very inspirational and has done wonderful work for the world. International Peace Day is September 21st. Here is the link to the website. And here is a short video I recommend you watch.

Another great writing blog is the Literary Lab. Three writers take turns blogging and discuss writing and books and stuff. It's pretty cool, and there are contests every once in a while.

I also spend a heck of a lot of time on Facebook.

So there you have it. What are the websites you visit a lot? And is there a cause or an organization that you support?

Peace, Aimee