Information, Answers & Reviews

The Writing Circle

The Writing CircleThis novel examines the writing process itself especially that nerve-wracking period when an author first shares her work with other people. Nancy writes for a medical newsletter for a living; how ironic, she often thinks, that a doctor's daughter researches articles about prostate health, skin cancer, even empty nest syndrome, and then makes pronouncements about them in the voice of a medical practitioner rather than her own. Her novel is a deeply personal story, one that imagines her father's life beginning with the night he watched a couple say good-bye to their newborn daughter. Nancy has waited until after her father's death to imagine his story. And as in all fiction, the bare biographical facts are merely a springboard to the tale, not its actual foundation.
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Hoarders

Hoarders is an A&E reality television show that focuses on people that engage in compulsive hoarding. I watched the first four episodes and could not believe my eyes. There are people that collect things, store things and buy knick-knacks, and then there are hoarders. Hoarders are the extreme versions of those that like to collect and store things in their homes. Read more »

Graphic Novels for The Afraid

MercuryI will come right out and say that I do not like superheroes (movie or print) and I didn't read comic books as a kid, so I am not naturally drawn to the graphic novel format. Because I'm kind of a nerd, what I do like is big fat novels and dusty historical non-fiction. So color me surprised when recently I've been enjoying more graphic novels. Last night as I finished Mercury by Hope Larson I began to wonder and hope that the reason went beyond the fact that I can read on in a single sitting -- though that is very satisfying too! My rationale is that I've been craving something different. I have read enough fiction to be somewhat bored with a traditional storyline. I want to think while I read -- to be engaged! And picking up some graphic novels has been the way to do that recently. I've tried to compile a list of graphic novels for the hesitant -- for anyone who thought that they weren't interested. Give one a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.
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Criminal Minds

There are a lot of television shows involving criminal investigations and murder. The public must love them otherwise there wouldn't be so many. I have to admit that I've been sucked into a few of them. I've seen:

Foyle's War
JAG
The Wire
The Shield (We no longer have this one)
The Closer
Bones
Mentalist
Numb3rs
Dead Zone
The Jesse Stone Series
Over the weekend I picked up season one of "Criminal Minds" on dvd. Read more »

A Prophet (2009)

English-language adaptations of foreign films are rarely any good and one of my least favorite phenomenons. The magic of the original usually gets lost. On the other hand, foreign-language remakes of US films? Kind of fantastic, if you ignore the recent Zhang Yimou remake of Blood Simple. Granted I only know of one other than that, but it is excellent enough to prove the rule. Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped updates the forgotten Harvey Keitel film Fingers with genius results.

Audiard's follow-up to that bit of awesome is the fantastically tense A Prophet, which features the best performance since Jeremy Renner last appeared on screen. Read more »

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