Sunday, May 5, 2013

Something to Read?

Hey ho, Scribblerati Faithful!

I am pumped! Why? Because spring is here!


I just don’t know. And you know what I mean, right? The weather has just been atrocious. God awful. Horrific.

Now, I have allergies, so I kind of have to live somewhere where everything is dead for several months at a time, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good about rationalizing the cold, but I’m done. DUN!

So let’s talk about spring, and summer, and sitting on your deck with a cold, sweaty beer, or a sparkling glass of your favorite rosé, AND READING.

Here’s a few ideas for ya.

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

Folks, this book is WAY outside my comfort zone. I'm mostly a hard-core sci-fi/fantasy guy, but I read this at the behest of my editor. At first I was like, nuh-uh, but then I decided, why not stretch my wings a little? And besides, it’s hard to read sci-fi/fantasy while you’re writing it.

So I read it, and… this book is the bomb.

For those who don’t know, Gone Girl is about a man and a woman who fall in and out of love. Simple story, right? Not in this case. These people are crazy. CRAAAAZY! It’s an, “I think you need to be on medication,” kind of crazy. Seriously. What they do to one another is just terrible.

But it’s the way the story is told that makes it so great. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t say much more than you will love and hate each character in equal measures. You will laugh. You’ll be horrified. And at the end of it all, if you’re like me, you’ll sit there and go, “Huh. That was frakked up.”

And then you’ll try to decide when you’re going to get around to reading it again.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Ben Fountain

This is another Editor Recommendation.

ALWAYS read those when you get them.

Here’s the story. Billy and his squad are war heroes and they are back from Iraq for two weeks. The book is told entirely within those two weeks, more or less, and you are in Billy’s had the entire time.

The thing that was so fascinating for me about this book is that you are in Billy’s head for the entire time. I know I already said that, but it’s totally worth repeating. You really are in his head. Like, ALL THE TIME. Every minute. Every thought. Everything from the minutia to the profound. Sometimes your heart breaks. Sometimes you laugh so hard that those nearby at the bar turn and look (true story).

There’s this one part, where he and his squad are at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and they are meeting the Dallas cowboy cheerleaders, where Billy goes on for most of a page about their breasts. It’s so nineteen-year-old guy real, and so crazy hilarious. It brought tears to my eyes.

But trust me, there’s more here than just hormones and boobs. The story has heart, and you will love it.

Matt Fraction and David Aja

Okay, lest you were worried that I’ve completely lost my geek cred, we’re switching to comics.

I read a bunch of these. Too many, probably. But we likes them, and this is one of my favorites.

I honestly didn’t think I would like this comic because the author, Matt Fraction, isn’t my favorite. But Fraction has nailed Hawkeye, and the artist, David Aja, is exceptionally talented. I don’t know which of them does the paneling/layout, but it’s top-notch. No herky-jerky pacing here, everything is well thought out, making you laugh in one panel and cringe in another.

Of course, every good story is about character, and in this comic Fraction has nailed Hawkeye’s character. Sure, there’s the requisite beat them up / bad guy story arcs, but the heart of this comic is Hawkeye himself. He’s a lovable, good-natured screwup whose mistakes are mostly balanced by his good intentions.

And then there’s the women. They love him, and he can’t stop loving them back, regardless of who it is, or which relationship he’s currently in. Hilarity ensues.

It’s loads of fun. Buy it, take it to the park, and be proud. “Yes, we read comics, and we likes them!”

1 comment:

Jon said...

Excellent recommendations, Shawn. Gone Girl has been on my list for awhile now and I'm a big fan of Hawkeye. You should check out Avengers Arena. It's awesome.