Books

What “Into the Water,” Buzzfeed Quizzes, and Musical Taste Have in Common

(No spoilers here.) In Paula Hawkins’ thriller Into the Water, characters aren’t simply “good” or “bad.” While Sean is called a “good man” over and over again he’s done some terrible things, and while Nel is loved by some she’s hated by others (even by the same people at different times). And then there are Lena, Jules, and Louise…

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This is part of what makes a thriller work. We can’t figure out “who dun it” because literally everyone has some kind of nasty history that suggests they might be capable of murder (what a terrifying thought)!

And yet, by writing the book through these characters’ perspectives, Hawkins forces us to empathize with them and understand their motivation. This doesn’t make their actions any less screwed up or horrific, but in experiencing the story in this way we are basically forced to view these people as human, and not as demons who hurt and kill people because they’re twisted and like it. Honestly, in a way that would be a lot more comforting–it would make us feel safer from the possibility of committing such horrific deeds ourselves.

And then there are Buzzfeed quizzes. Continue reading “What “Into the Water,” Buzzfeed Quizzes, and Musical Taste Have in Common”

Books

If Gatsby’s Car were Remote-Controlled (and Other Literary Vehicle Toys That Need to Happen)

The Great Gatsby car

What if you could bring a piece of your favorite book’s world into real life–a piece that you could manipulate and control? Continue reading “If Gatsby’s Car were Remote-Controlled (and Other Literary Vehicle Toys That Need to Happen)”

Books, Music

Clair de Lune in Two Popular Movies (What’s Up With That?)

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I find it fascinating that the classical piano piece “Clair de Lune” is used so much in movies. I mean, what is it about that specific piece that makes it so popular and meaningful? And how does using it in different movies give a new, nuanced meaning to either the movie scene and/or the music itself? Continue reading “Clair de Lune in Two Popular Movies (What’s Up With That?)”

Books

Heroes Don’t Die. But What If They Did?

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I would say that this post has spoilers for The Martian, but my whole point is that the book’s ending ISN’T a spoiler…

What is it about stories that make us so sure of a happy ending?

Not every book ends happily, of course, but as I read The Martian I knew that Andy Weir wasn’t Continue reading “Heroes Don’t Die. But What If They Did?”