Category: Books

A Very Novel First Line

What does the first line of a novel tell us about the book we are reading? If it’s good, it can tell us quite a lot about the journey we are about to embark upon. It can establish the unique voice of the narrator and give us a hint of tone, theme, characters, and plot. If it’s well done, a good first line can really hook you! So let’s take a look at the first lines of some novels I’ve read, from classic literature to recent contemporary novels. Note: You will notice that sometimes I quote more than a...

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October 2017 Must List

Summer vacations are long gone, back to school madness is over, and the holidays are still a ways away. This means you finally have time to read books, watch movies, listen to music, and appreciate art. Perfect! Because I have some recommendations for you. The Art of Peregrine Heathcote I recently stumbled across a painting by British artist Peregrine Heathcote, and I fell in love with his style and the warm, rich color tones of his work. Heathcote studied his technique in Florence, Italy, and in a 2010 interview when he was asked about his favorite subject matter, he...

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Memoirs: How the Other 194 Countries Live

About ten years ago, I went on a reading spree where I was primarily reading memoirs written by people from other countries. The memoir First They Killed My Father started this spree. Written by Loung Ung, this book details the atrocities under the Khmer Rouge reign after Cambodian Communist leader Pol Pot’s forces captured the capitol of Phnom Penh in 1975. Many Cambodians were executed for political reasons while others were thrown into labor camps or forced to train as soldiers. By the end of the four years, over 2 million Cambodians had died from starvation, disease, forced labor,...

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Reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin in New Orleans

During my junior year in college, I took a literature class that focused on short stories and poetry. There were three writers/pieces that I still remember feeling deeply moved by at that time: 1. The poetry of Sylvia Plath 2. The dark and unsettling short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor 3. An excerpt from Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel The Awakening I don’t know why I never went back to read the book in its entirety… until now. I’m in New Orleans at the moment working on the film Louisiana Caviar. There isn’t a...

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The Thrill of Armchair High Altitude Mountaineering on Everest

Three years ago, it was one o’clock in the morning, but I could not go to sleep because there was a traffic jam at the Hillary Step on Mt. Everest and I was afraid the climbers were all going to die. Okay, I should clarify a few things. I am not a mountain climber and I have never been on Mt. Everest. I was watching Discovery Channel’s documentary TV-series Everest: Beyond the Limit from the comfort of my own couch and warm living room. But that’s a minor detail, really, because halfway across the globe, there was a traffic...

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