Lovecraft Revisited

Confession: I have never read anything by legendary horror/fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft. And I am unlikely to do so going forward. What I have been doing is reading a bunch of books inspired by Lovecraft. I’m sure that there are references and nuances I’m missing, but I’ve really been enjoying these books on their own merit. So whether you’re a Lovecraft devotee, or if you’ve never heard of him before, here are a few recent Lovecraftian novels to check out.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff – Chicago, 1954. 22 year old African American veteran Atticus Turner discovers his father is missing and sets out with his Uncle George and childhood friend Letitia to find him. They stumble upon a secret cabal run by the Braithwhite family, who have ritualistic designs on Atticus. And that’s just the first chapter! What follows is are chapters focusing on different members of Atticus’ family and friend circle over the next year as they grapple with Braithwhite’s schemes, cursed dolls, haunted houses, and Jim Crow-era racism. Continue reading “Lovecraft Revisited”

Page to Screen: My Cousin Rachel.

It was my idea, after all. Lately as we’ve seen readers and filmgoers gobbling up great twisty psychological suspense such as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, I kept thinking they should make a fresh version Daphne Du Maurier’s classic tale of the devious anti-heroine known as My Cousin Rachel. Sixty-five years after its original publication, the book stands up extremely well, and makes a terrific suggestion for fans of gothic film and fiction including such modern descendants as Kate Morton, Sarah WatersLauren Forrey, Eleanor Wasserberg, Catronia Ward, John Harwood. I mean, it pretty much has it all – lush historical trappings, an irresistible villainess, passion, poison –  and it is desperately overdue for a fresh version. Check out the trailer for this 1952 potboiler starring Olivia deHavilland and “bright new star” Richard Burton (“Was she woman, or witch!? Madonna or murderess!? … She gives men the promise of ecstasy, and a life of torment!”)

Hugely fun on a rainy Saturday afternoon, but we’re definitely ready for something a bit more contemporary. I can’t wait to see the new film with Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, which looks gorgeous and treacherous, as it should:

. Continue reading “Page to Screen: My Cousin Rachel.”

Books to Movies: 2017 and Beyond

Want to catch up on must-reads books before they become movies? Are you excited to see – or dreading to watch – your favorite characters come to life? Here are some of the most anticipated adaptations coming to a screen near you. Check out the books now, while there’s still time! Continue reading “Books to Movies: 2017 and Beyond”

Missing Mad Men? Meet the Real Don Draper

I miss Mad Men. Not any particular character or plot line: I miss the feel of it. That blend of humor and heartbreak, tinged with an uneasy dread that one might easily assume to be bygone innocence viewed through the lens of contemporary disillusionment and cynicism. Yet far more that the show’s meticulous period details and cultural conventions, the most authentically vintage aspect of Mad Men was that very sense of mid-century malaise, reflected by the books and movies of the time.
Don Draper Swimming long

Continue reading “Missing Mad Men? Meet the Real Don Draper”

The Scarlet Letter Revisited

“The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers,—stern and wild ones,—and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.”  -The Scarlet Letter

What I love most about The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is it’s timelessness. It is just as relevant now as it was when it was first published. No matter ones opinion it sparks conversation from all sides. Here are a few items that revisit that theme:

When She Woke, by Hillary JordanThe novel When She Woke by Hillary Jordan gives us a futuristic version of The Scarlet Letter. Hannah Payne’s life revolved around God first and family second due to living in a world where faith and politics go hand in hand. Yet Hannah has always had a slight rebellious side and when the State of Texas deems Hannah a murderer with the victim being her unborn child she finds herself alone in a white room with her skin dyed red. In her society those that commit crimes are dyed and sent out to live in the world. Not willing to expose the man who fathered the child, a respected pastor, nor the physician that helped her she adds more time on to her sentence and will spend the next sixteen years as a red. After being released she begins the process of discovering who she is despite what her crime claims her to be.

Occasionally there is a teen movie that I can’t help but watch over and over again. MyEasy A, a film by Will Gluck secret shame, so to speak, is Just My Luck and 10 Things I Hate About You. My newest guilty pleasure is Easy A, which is a modern high school take of The Scarlet Letter. Olive Penderghast, played by Emma Stone, finds her life, which was normally spent in high school obscurity, the center of a false rumor of her losing her virginity. Unfortunately the rumor was started by herself to her best friend in the bathroom only to be overheard by the holier than thou Marianne. Once this rumor takes off it morphs into a whole different beast and rather than try to dispel them she claims them by wearing a red A. Although she tries to use her new found strength to help those in need she causes more harm to her reputation and it begins to affect everyone around her till she has no choice, but to finally reveal the truth.