May 17, 2013 • Fiction
As a writer, I’m endlessly fascinated by the notion of unreliable narrators in fiction. Whether they’re pathological liars, mentally ill, naïve, or acting out of good impulses, these characters manipulate the readers into believing a certain order of events. They fudge details, hide vital information, and challenge their audience to evaluate not only the story being told, but the way in which it’s being relayed. They’re the most authentic characters you’ll encounter because of this very human trait.
It’s also a trope that exists across literature, TV, and film alike, utilizing the elements of each medium to reveal how deep the deception actually goes. The unreliable narrator is an exhaustive trope, so this list of my personal favorites only scratches the surface. Warning: I’ll be discussing spoilers (some major, some minor) in these entries.
May 14, 2013 • Fiction
Hello you Quirky readers! Since May is national Get Caught Reading Month, I thought I’d walk around our great city of Philadelphia to see what everyone was reading. Take a gander below and maybe you’ll get inspired to pick up a book too!
Name: Ben S., Engineer/Producer of Elevate Sound Studios, and his cat, Dookie
Currently Reading: The Science of Self-Realization by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Says Ben: “I got this book from a monk who was spreading the spiritual word at the big Broad Street Fair a few weeks ago. Figured it would be an interesting read for the spring.”
May 1, 2013 • Fiction
There's nothing funnier than a good dramatic reading. It's an art (I'm using the term loosely) that all literary-minded people can appreciate. Sometimes a book (or a song or a poem) is written so horribly that it needs to be analyzed, with special attention given to every sentence, every word, every thought. While the writing may not be all that spectacular, the performers are certainly talented. I don't know how any of the following can get through a dramatic reading without bursting into laughter. Props to them.
Here's a compilation of the best dramatic readings the Internet has to offer.
April 23, 2013 • Fiction
William Shakespeare was born today in 1564... maybe. Here's the truth: we know he died on April 23, 1616 and we know he was baptized on April 26, 1564. Those facts are enough for most of Shakespeare's biographers, who have decided that his birth and death on the same day of the year is, as Han Solo once said of Luke's being born and dying (or about to die) on Tatooine, "convenient." So April 23rd is the day that bookends Shakespeare's life; he died on (or near) his 52nd birthday.
My love affair with William Shakespeare began in 1991. My brother was a senior in high school, reading Hamlet in his English class. I was a precocious eighth grader eager to emulate my brother, who was four years older but infinitely cooler than I was. On a trip to the Oregon coast, my family stopped at our favorite book store (a glorified flea market), where I bought my first volume of Shakespeare: a worn red copy of Hamlet that looked really, really old. It is from a Scottish publisher -- Blackie & Son, Ltd. in Glasgow -- with no copyright date.
April 15, 2013 • Fiction, Fiction: MG & YA
Hopefully your financial records are a little more up to date than this...(image via flickr)
Tax season is
almosttotally upon us, and what better way to spend your hard-won tax refund than on sweet, sweet works of literature? We here at Quirk made lists and checked them twice for all the books we'll cash in on when the refund check arrives.
BRETT COHEN: The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
This is one of the first books I remember having to read for high school and actually enjoying. After enjoying a string of recent YA hits like The Hunger Games and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, it might be good to revisit a favorite book from when I was actually a young adult.
BLAIR THORNBURGH: Okay, there is no way I could EVER afford this, because facsimiles are major $$, but in an ideal world...a full-color reproduction of the Lindisfarne Gospels. (Have you been watching Vikings? That book is beautiful). But...in the real world, I'll probably go for something like Terry Jones' Medieval Lives (because Monty Python! And the Middle Ages!)
MARI KRASKE: Rod: The Autobiography by Rod Stewart. Not kidding. I probably wouldn’t buy this book unless I had extra cash. But I love Rod Stewart and am pretty much only reading non-fiction these days. I heard it was good read and filled with lots of scandalous gossip on 70s Brit music giants. Besides, who wouldn’t want to know what the hell happened to someone like Rod Stewart in the 80s? I would, that’s for sure. Thanks tax refund!
NICOLE DE JACKMO: Lately I've been patronizing the awesome Free Library instead of buying books. And although I'm not getting a refund, thankfully I don't owe money--so that's cause for celebration! I'll be celebrating by buying a copy of "Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home". Summer's just around the corner and I can't think of a better way to prepare for it than making delicious ice cream.