The influence of Dostoevsky

I've been reading The Idiot, and the same as with Crime and Punishment, I am now seeing its influences on everything. I will share just one example, early in the novel. Prince Myshkin, the protagonist and titular 'idiot,' is a very open and guileless person, which leads many people who encounter him to doubt his …

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To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

Can a book be a work of art? The answer is yes, and I've read it. The only way to read this novel is to do so the same way you might look at a painting. A painting captures a moment, a feeling, a tone, it brings thoughts to your mind and makes you wonder …

Hill House vs Hill House

The 1959 Shirley Jackson Gothic horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House, has spawned two  Hollywood movies, a radio adaption, numerous parodies and copycats, and has influenced novelists and film writers for decades. Most recently, it’s been made into a TV series by Netflix which, after I heard from so many people how great it …

Is Sci-fi missing something?

A friend linked me this article about the squeamish hesitance of writers to call their books sci-fi, and the reputation sci-fi has for being cheap or base entertainment. Some of this rings true for me, too, even as a (ex?) sci-fi fan and writer myself. Their example of Faber is accurate. I remember when I …

Yes, I’m still reading, just slowly

Here are the books I've read so far this year and my thoughts! I am way behind schedule! The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: Amazing! I have a much longer post about the book versus the show coming up, so I'm not going to post much here besides 'I loved it!' Sapiens: a …

The books I read in 2018: the good, the best, and the rest

This year I continued my exploration of the literary. I read 34 books, the same as last year (missing my goal of 40 by a fair amount) and only two of those could be called genre. Of those 34, most were brilliant, some extremely so, and very few were bland or uninteresting. I don't think …

The Last Samurai, by Helen Dewitt

No, it has nothing to do with the 2003 Tom Cruise movie (which came out 3 years after this novel was released)--and that I need to make that distinction at all is an illustration of the sad state of American culture, because this book was flipping amazing and I can't believe I've never heard of …