Friday, December 21, 2012

We Have a Winner!

Jennifer Surgenor come on down! You won an amazing, can't put down book. Email me your mailing address and I'll send Gone Girl off to you right away. Happy holidays!

Monday, December 10, 2012

On the Road

Did you guys hear that Jack Kerouac's famous On the Road has been adapted into a movie? I just may have to go see it.

I took an American literature course in college and we studied The Beat poets, Kerouac among them. I adored reading about the Beat Generation. They were trying to figure themselves out in the world and were hungry to do so. I could related to that feeling especially at 21.

My favorite quote from On the Road is the following: “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” 

What prose! On the Road is the biographical cross country account of Kerouac and his friends. It's a novel about searching for oneself in the world and searching for the truth within oneself. 

Kerouac helped coin the term 'beat' for his generation of the late 1940s. They were the generation of the Cold War, McCarthyism, and there was, of course, experimental drugs--which Kerouac and other Beat writers used as inspiration and deemed as a kind of religious experience. 

Kerouac searches for his place in the world and that's what all characters seek to do. As readers we must understand how their world works and where they fit within it. It's an age old question too, though one that's never quite answered. It's likely why On the Road has been beloved for all these decades. It wasn't just the novel of a generation but a beautiful summary of a shared experience that transcends individuals and ages. 

Here's the trailer:

So tell me, did you love On the Road? Will you go see the movie?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Gone Girl

Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn

I read or, rather, devoured Gone Girl with my book club a couple of months ago and had promised to include a review here. Since it's taken me forever to post something and we're now officially into December, I thought I'd do a Christmas giveaway (directions below).

When I first finished Gone Girl all I could think was holy sh*t! Flynn has masterfully crafted a thriller with unexpected twists and turns, more so than I had expected and right up until the end. Even when I thought I knew the characters, they surprised--and disappointed--me once again.

The book opens on Amy and Nick Dunne's 5-year wedding anniversary. It's also the day that Amy goes missing, seemingly pulled from her house after an altercation. From there, the reader is thrown into two worlds: current day alongside Nick and the introduction of Nick and Amy from 5 years prior, thanks to Amy's diary. It's a neat spin on alternating perspectives.

In this section of the book we get a feel for Amy and how she and Nick came to be. We also see how Nick handles the pressures of the press and the eyes of an entire town suddenly thrust upon him.

You'll find yourself analyzing suspects and debating about why Nick may or may not have taken his wife and, if so, where she could be. It's not until the next section that the reader is introduced to two massive surprises: Nick's potential motives if the case went to trial, and Amy's not so deadly disappearance.

Hereafter the characters are wild cards, most particularly Amy. As a reader I felt betrayed at the person I believed her to be from the diary. As a writer I felt intrigued that Flynn would create such a untrustworthy, undermining, sociopath that her sheer presence leaves the reader on the edge of their seat.

And each time I rested just a little, Amy surprised me with something else--something more.

I even had to re-read the last page multiple times. I flipped it over just to be certain that it was indeed the end. That this was where the story had finished. That this was the truth of what became of Amy and Nick. And then I leaned back in my seat and said, "Wow."

Giveaway rules:
1. Contest is open now until December 20th (winner will be announced on the block December 21st)
2. You must be a follower of the blog
3. You must email me an entry, subject line "Gone Girl Giveaway"
4. Extra entry for each of the following: Tweet "Check out @SCookRay #bookgiveaway of GONE GIRL" or Facebook post the link or include a comment to this blog post.
5. Book giveaway is limited to U.S. only.

Good luck!