Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Couple of Death Books and a Cinematic Let Down

I own a lot of books about death.  A lot.  Either I buy them to see what they have to say or someone gives them to me because I have a blog called the "death writer." A few weeks ago, my pal Tex loaned me a copy of Roz Chast's graphic memoir, "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?"  Tex is a member of my Death over Dinner group and she was super excited to share this book.  So, I do as I always do and I consumed it in a one night, Evelyn Wood's inspired, reading spree.  Short review: Loved it, but it made me super sad.  (Having parents in their 80's can do that to a person.)  Anyway, I think that was the point of the book. In a perfect world, everyone would have a copy of it on their coffee table.  "Oh look, a cartoon book!"  Cartoons are funny and blah, blah, blah.  Well, I challenge anyone to read this book and not get to the point of ugly crying face by the end of it.

The second book I read this past week was "Damned" by Chuck Palahniuk.  I hate to admit this, but this is the first book I've read by Chuck.  I saw "Fight Club" because Brad Pitt is so darn good looking, but I never read the book.  My second admission of guilt is that I loved it (Damned), which is also kind of shameful to admit.  Chuck "Pal-how-the-flock do I say your last name?" is way out there, but I found myself laughing out loud at several points. That doesn't happen very often when I'm reading. I'll usually smile or maybe giggle.  But Chuck's words made me guffaw.  There are some sparkling gems of funny in this tale of eternal damnation.  Review:  Maddy Spencer rocks!

Random non-death related reading story...Last week I was at a Teen Writer Workshop and I brought up a scene in "No Country For Old Men," as an illustration of tension.  This just shows how out of the teen pop culture loop I am, as no one in this room had seen the movie.  Too young!  Anyway, this film has lots of death. (So maybe teens shouldn't be watching this particular film.) The coin toss scene in this movie is seriously one of the most tense moments in cinematic history.  You know you want to watch it.  If anything, do it for Javier Bardem's hair!

I watched the dang movie again and I realized that it also has the biggest cinematic let down of all time. Llewelyn's death is like a little blip.  A nothing.  We've traveled with him and rooted for him and then when he's taken out, we don't even get to see it.  Damn, you Coen Brothers!

What do you think of Chuck?  I want to know.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Night in Sixes

I met Tex Thompson at the DFW Writers' Workshop a few years back.  In the years I've known her, she has written a blog post for this here blog, she attempted to enlighten my daughter about the awesomeness of math and she is one of the wittiest attendees at my "Death Over Dinner" parties. Not only is she super nice and fun to be around, she is like the smartest person I've ever met. I've heard a lot of critiques during workshop and she is one of the few people who can always find something nice or encouraging to say about someone's writing.  Plus, she can pinpoint what isn't working and deliver it in such a way that you don't feel like your innards are going to spill forth onto the table.

In other words, she's totally kick ass.  And today, her first book has just been released!  It has been such a thrill to witness the whole process for her, from finding an agent to finally landing a book contract. And now her baby is here and look how cool it is!

You can check it out on Amazon, or better yet, go to your favorite brick and mortar bookstore and get it there.  She will be at the Barnes and Noble in lovely Hurst, TX this Saturday at 3pm.  

She is also having a Twitter contest with a $50 gift card as the prize, so hop on over for the details.