What should I read? And why?
I've been chewing my way through the Hard Case Crime series.
For nonfiction, have you picked up the Will Eisner books "Comics and Sequential Art" and "Graphic Storytelling"? Fantastic stuff, and he really taps into the advantages of comic book storytelling vs other media. There's also the "Understanding Comics" book by Scott McCloud. Fun book explaining different aspects of how comics work, all done in comic book format.
On the comic side, I've been loving Ex Machine by Brian K Vaughn and Tony Harris.
I'm reading a great book - Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs. It's a book of true stories from his life, childhood to now. He's hysterical.
THE MOON AND SIX PENCE by W. Somerset Maugham.
Because it kicks ass.
For fiction -
The Time-Traveler's Wife (my fave read of the past five years)
The Dogs of Babel
The End of Faith - by Sam Harris
The Opposite of Fate - Amy Tan
That's just off the top of my head - I'll let you know if I think of anything else.
I also just picked up the Complete Peanuts, from 1950 to 1958 (four volumes) and I can't recommend it enough, Schultz was a genius in his own way.
THE LAND OF LAUGHS by Jonathan Carroll.
Except if you like Neil Gaiman's stuff, you've probably read it already.
"tough jews" by rich cohen. takes a look at the jewish murder inc guys, the effect they had on the people from the area and father son relationships.
very interesting read.
Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell... An excellent book about small events that essentially change our world... He takes alook at epidemics, fads and a bunch of other things... very well written
Freakonomics is another great book that I've read. Funny and insightful :) Its by Steven Levitt
Oh yeah, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is an excellent fantasy book by Susanna Clarke. Amazingly indepth, reads like an alternate history of England. Lots and Lots of footnotes make it very interesting and you should read it before the movie comes out... have not clue how their going to pull that off...
The Ghost with Trembling Wings
I second the reccomend for "The Kite Runner". Excellent book that moved me and gave me a new insight into the Muslim world.
I'm embarassed to so shamelessly self-promote, but you should be reading my online novel DINGO (chapter 1 is here.)
26 of the 27 chapters have been posted and the final chapter goes up this Friday. It's a fun little pulp fantasy which you can read in a couple of lazy afternoons.
Obviously you should be reading The Schreiber Theory, the book that tries to give screenwriters their due (or is that their overdue?).
According to author David Kipen, we've been brainwashed by a pernicious way of thinking about movies that favors the director over the writer. Kipen shines the spotlight on the screenwriter and takes aim at "auteurism," the influential theory of moviemaking that emphasizes the singular vision of the director in making a great film."We're seeing the consequences of an irrational and disproportionate emphasis on directing at the expense of screenwriting," Kipen says. To redress the imbalance, Kipen proposes a "screenwriter-centered way of thinking about film" (the "Schreiber" of his title is Yiddish for writer).
John Birmingham's got a fun alternative hostory series going set during WWII - first book is called Weapons of Choice, and the second (Designated Targets) was recently published... very good reads...
Second the Complete Peanuts recommedation above - those books are a must-have... :)
Since Mike Nelson started it (Thanks, Mike!) I'll continue the shameless self promotion by urging you and everyone reading to go pick up both volumes of the TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN anthologies. Not just for my short story contributions, but for the stories by Jess Nevins, John Peel, Brian Stableford, Win Scott Eckert, Randy & Jean Marc Lofficier, et al.
You can get them both at:
David Mitchell's CLOUD ATLAS is the best book I've read in a few years. Nearly virtuoso fiction.
It involves some commitment to really throw yourself into it, but about 1/4 of the way in you'll be hooked.
That, and (not because I'm always thinking about storytelling prospects on the screen) I think it could make an kick-ass film if done just right. Kind of in that they-said-The-Hours-could-never-be-filmed sort of way.
Did you pick a book yet? Add to the list "The World According to Garp" because it is funny and moving, "As I Lay Dying" because the point of view play with knock your socks off, and "Blood Meridian" because Cormac McCarthy takes to ask all American values in beautiful prose.
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