Books for Wes Anderson Fans: Children’s Literature Edition

If director Wes Anderson’s films were novels, there would be midnight release parties at bookstores around the world each time an Anderson-penned hardback hits the shelves. Your friend who always dresses up as Margot Tenenbaum for Halloween would be chatting it up with the Max Fischer wannabe ahead of her. Meanwhile you’d be jealously scrolling through your Twitter feed reading tweets from your Goodreads friends in another timezone as they chronicle their initial reactions to the novel. And once you have the book is in your hands, you and Margot would head to the 24 hour Dunkin Donuts for liquid energy to propel you through a marathon night of reading. If only. With the sole exception of Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), none of Anderson’s films have a novel equivalent, at least not officially. Yet Anderson’s films contain definable themes and styles that are firmly rooted in children’s literature past and present. To immerse yourself in that same blend of Anderson twee, whimsy, and bittersweet optimism, spend a few hours reading these children’s novels that perfectly encapsulate Anderson’s unique and idiosyncratic film formula. Hey, it beats obsessively refreshing IMDb for updates on his next project. Greenglass House by Kate Milford (2014)...

The Epic Bildungsroman: An Appreciation

It took me five months to finish HBO’s Game of Thrones, but finish it I did last Sunday. I loved the first season and was ambivalent about the second and third, but damn, the fourth season killed it. I was talking to my friends and family about what I loved about the fourth season so much, and I think it comes down to this. The main characters, Jon Snow, Arya, Tyrion, even Bran, their character arcs were slow-building, but when the plot got going it was unstoppable. A Song of Ice and Fire has so much going for it, and part of that is through the books’ structure of multiple storylines and multiple perspectives. You’ve got stories that are bildungsroman featuring characters who were mere children or teens at the beginning of the sage, Daenerys, Jon, Bran, Arya, Sansa, and you get to see them grow and mature. There are moments of sheer brutality when Arya and Sansa witness their dad’s execution, but they absorb the trauma as you would a splinter and grow with it lodged in their body. All of the children see and experience things that should weaken them, but instead they strengthen them. Their stories are about survival, adaptation, and...

Fiction that Revives: Books to Live for

I have recently taken strides to revive my personal journal writing. It’s hella cheap therapy and can be really revealing and healing to just do stream of conscious on a question that at first seems simple–“What is happiness to you? Do you consider yourself a happy person or an unhappy and stressed person? Describe a time when you felt happy and when you made someone else happy.”–but can actually reveal depths you never knew your soul was capable of unveiling. It’s kind of like an onion. For example I journaled on that question today and realized how hard it was to describe happiness in my life. But for me, happiness is kind of akin to feeling exuberance and an almost cosmic connection to life energy. I thought about the things that make me feel alive, and I thought about books that have made me feel that way. Books that I’ve put down profoundly changed. Here’s a list of earth shattering fiction. (Also, I’ve combined some books that are related.) To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Hours by Michael Cunningham I took an independent study in Virginia Woolf my senior year of college. I got a research grant to...

Angsty and Crazy Beautiful Couples of Literature: History and Highlights

“Love story” is the most populated shelf on my Goodreads account. I freakin love stories about love and cannot get enough. My favorite stories are those that depict love that is just crazy and beautiful, love that defies all logic, love that makes sense between two unlikely people haunted by personal demons. I adore love stories that feature love between two people where they create their own little reality, their own shelter from the obstacles of life. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately after reading Heather Demetrios’ I’ll Meet You There last week. So here is Crazy, Beautiful Love redux, the angsty stuff that give me, someone who has never been in love like that, hope that I’ll fall in love with my own tortured hero one day. In no particular order, here are my Top 10. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale This is it. This is perhaps my favorite romance of all time. It’s crazy and angsty and painful. Christian, a Duke, suffers a stroke that causes him to lose his ability to form coherent speech as well as understand what is being spoken to him. He is locked in an insane asylum and treated inhumanely, as...

“Three Amazing Things About You” by Jill Mansell | Book Review

Jill Mansell “Three Amazing Things About You” Review: Three Stars OK, I’m struggling with how I feel about this book. I feel mixed. And let me tell you why. At times, this was a really positive reading experience. I was so totally absorbed in this story that I read it in less than 24 hours. Jill Mansell knows how to write light mystery and suspense in her story. Throughout the story there are a few main questions that drive the narrative, some of which impacted my rating and made me downgrade it from a potential 5-star to a 3-star. Here they are:


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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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