Tag Archives: Literature

Author Insight: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s name is one that almost everyone knows, English major or not,
as he was one of the first individuals to promote Transcendentalism and very openly go against the grain of society’s norms. He wrote many essays throughout his years, detailing his thoughts on the importance of embracing nature and being self-reliant, and he is still considered one of the greatest scholars in history. This is not only due to his way with words, but also to his willingness to stand out and promote thoughts that were typically not accepted or popular during his time.

In ​The American Scholar, Emerson states, “Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote these books.” Putting the patriarchal language aside, this line tends to strike a chord with the reader– especially one interested in writing their own pieces– as it still very much applies to anyone who aspires to get their work published.

As we discover new authors and ideas as well as look back on the classics, we tend to forget that they were once in our shoes, striving to get their thoughts down on the page and convey some sort of meaning to others. Although their legacies have grown to seem insurmountable, they were all once where we are. This is very important to realize today, especially for younger writers who feel as though they could never measure up to other well known figures, both past and current.

Similarly, Emerson believed that we must discover the world for ourselves and not rely
on the words and experiments of others as our only resource for knowledge. Instead, we should supplement our lives with the work of others, but still rely only on ourselves and our abilities. If we focus too heavily on others’ efforts, we fail ourselves. This holds true in today’s society, as we study famous works such as Emerson’s to expand our minds and knowledge, but we do not accept them as the single truth of the world. Instead, we use them as inspiration and guidance as we continue moving forward and discovering.

Emerson’s message is definitely one that aspiring writers should pay attention to,
especially those in college who are surrounded by peers who have the same ambitions as they do. It is easy to get caught up in insecurities and to have doubts about your abilities, but the most important thing to remember is that we all have original thoughts and ideas, and we should use them as we see fit. Just as Emerson did with his works, we take risks by putting our thoughts out into the world, especially if they differ from what society would consider normal or proper, and having the courage to do so is something he would likely admire and encourage.

 

by Megan Corkery

 

2019 Oscar-nominated Films Based on Best-selling Books

The 2019 Academy Awards are tonight on ABC (8 p.m. EST). Before the ceremony, check out which of this year’s Oscar-nominated films are actually based on best-selling books!

Black Klansman: A Memoir
Written by Ron Stallworth, 2018

“When detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. He figures he’ll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community.Image result for ron stallworth blackkklansman book

A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he’d never have to answer, “Would you like to join our cause?” This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Its Grand Wizard, David Duke, has made a name for himself, appearing on talk shows, and major magazine interviews preaching a “kinder” Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage, and to restore a nation to its former glory.

Ron answers the caller’s question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious, and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron recruits his partner Chuck to play the “white” Ron Stallworth, while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends David Duke himself.

Black Klansman is an amazing true story that reads like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.”

BlacKkKlansman (2018)
Directed by Spike Lee
Screenplay by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver

Nominated for: Best Picture (Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele, Lee), Best Director (Lee), Best Adapted Screenplay (Watchel, Rabinowitz, Willmott, Lee), Actor in a Supporting Role (Driver), Film Editing (Barry Alexander Brown), Original Score (Terence Blanchard)

 

If Beale Street Could Talk
Written by James Baldwin, 1974

“In this honest and stunning novel, now a major motion picture directed by Barry Jenkins, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice.

Image result for if beale street could talk bookTold through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions–affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.”

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Directed by Barry Jenkins
Screenplay by Barry Jenkins
Starring: KiKi Layne, Stephen James, Regina King

Nominated for: Actress in a Supporting Role (King), Original Score (Nicholas Britell), Best Adapted Screenplay (Jenkins)

 

Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger
Written by Lee Israel, 2008

“Before turning to her life of crime—running a one-woman forgery business out of a phone booth in a Greenwich Village bar and even dodging the FBI—Lee Israel had a legitimate career as an author of biographies. Her first book on Tallulah Bankhead was a New York Times bestseller, and her second, on the late journalist and reporter Dorothy Kilgallen, made a splash in the headlines.
Image result for can you ever forgive me book
But by 1990, almost broke and desperate to hang onto her Upper West Side studio, Lee made a bold and irreversible career change: inspired by a letter she’d received once from Katharine Hepburn, and armed with her considerable skills as a researcher and celebrity biographer, she began to forge letters in the voices of literary greats. Between 1990 and 1991, she wrote more than three hundred letters in the voices of, among others, Dorothy Parker, Louise Brooks, Edna Ferber, Lillian Hellman, and Noel Coward—and sold the forgeries to memorabilia and autograph dealers.”

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
Directed by Marielle Heller
Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant

Nominated for: Actress in a Leading Role (McCarthy), Actor in a Supporting Role (Grant), Best Adapted Screenplay (Holofcener, Whitty)

 

The Wife, A Novel
Written by Meg Wolitzer, 2003

The Wife is the story of the long and stormy marriage between a world-famous novelist, Joe Castleman, and his wife Joan, and the secret they’ve kept for decades. The novel opens just as Joe is about to receive a prestigious international award, The Helsinki Prize, to Image result for the wife meg wolitzer bookhonor his career as one of America’s preeminent novelists. Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, finally decides to stop.

Important and ambitious, The Wife is a sharp-eyed and compulsively readable story about a woman forced to confront the sacrifices she’s made in order to achieve the life she thought she wanted. “A rollicking, perfectly pitched triumph…Wolitzer’s talent for comedy of manners reaches a heady high” (Los Angeles Times), in this wise and candid look at the choices all men and women make—in marriage, work, and life.”

The Wife (2018)
Directed by Björn L. Runge
Screenplay by Jane Anderson
Starring: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Max Irons

Nominated for: Actress in a Leading Role (Close)

 

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
Written by John A. Guy, 2004

“In Mary Queen of Scots, John Guy creates an intimate and absorbing portrait of one of Image result for queen of scots the true life of mary stuarthistory’s most famous women, depicting her world and her place in the sweep of history with stunning immediacy. Bringing together all surviving documents and uncovering a trove of new sources for the first time, Guy dispels the popular image of Mary Stuart as a romantic leading lady—achieving her ends through feminine wiles—and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I.

Through Guy’s pioneering research and superbly readable prose, we come to see Mary as a skillful diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions that sought to control or dethrone her. It is an enthralling, myth-shattering look at a complex woman and ruler and her time.”

Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
Directed by Josie Rourke
Screenplay by Beau Williams
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie

Nominated for: Costume Design (Alexandra Byrne), Makeup and Hairstyling (Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher, Jessica Brooks)

 

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
Written by James R. Hansen, 2005

“When Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon’s surface in 1969, the first man on the Moon became a legend. In First Man, author James R. Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over fifty hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this “magnificent panorama of the second half of the American twentieth century” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) is an unparalleled biography of an American icon.

IImage result for first man the life of neil a. armstrongn this “compelling and nuanced portrait” (Chicago Tribune) filled with revelations, Hansen vividly recreates Armstrong’s career in flying, from his seventy-eight combat missions as a naval aviator flying over North Korea to his formative trans-atmospheric flights in the rocket-powered X-15 to his piloting Gemini VIII to the first-ever docking in space. For a pilot who cared more about flying to the Moon than he did about walking on it, Hansen asserts, Armstrong’s storied vocation exacted a dear personal toll, paid in kind by his wife and children. For the near-fifty years since the Moon landing, rumors have swirled around Armstrong concerning his dreams of space travel, his religious beliefs, and his private life.

A penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and as an individual.”

First Man (2018)
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Screenplay by Josh Singer
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy

Nominated for: Production Design (Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Kathy Lucas (Set Decoration)), Sound Editing (Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan), Sound Mixing (John Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Lee, and Mary H. Ellis), Visual Effects (Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, J.D. Schwalm)

 

Mary Poppins
Written by Dr. P. L. Travers and illustrated by Mary Shepherd, 1943-1988Image result for mary poppins p.l. travers

“Who can slide up banisters, banish naughtiness with a swift “Spit-spot,” and turn a make-believe sidewalk drawing into a lovely day in the park? Mary Poppins, of course! From the moment the beloved nanny arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life for the Banks family is full of excitement.”

Series includes Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door, Mary Poppins in the Park, Mary Poppins from A to Z, Mary Poppins in the Kitchen, Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane, and Mary Poppins and the House Next Door.

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
Directed by Rob Marshall
Screenplay by David Magee
Screen Story by Magee, Marshall, and John DeLuca
Starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Nominated for: Original Song (“The Place Where Lost Things Go” music by Marc Shaiman; lyric by Scott Wittman and Shaiman), Costume Design (Sandy Powell), Production Design (John Myhre (Production Design); Gordon Sim (Set Decoration))

 

Ready Player One
Written by Ernest Cline, 2011

“At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

Related imageIn the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”

Ready Player One (2018)
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Zak Penn, Ernest Cline
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke

Nominated for: Visual Effects (Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler, David Shirk)

Look, I didn’t want to be obsessed with Rick Riordan

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”

I will never forget the opening line to my favorite book, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

The story is about Percy Jackson, a twelve-year-old demigod boy fighting monsters and trying to outlive ominous prophecies. Riordan gives a sassy and witty voice to Percy in this opening line that keeps the reader hooked for the rest of the story.

Riordan answers the question: What would happen if the Greek gods and goddess were alive in the 21st century?

Of course they would be up to their usual mischief: having affairs with mortals, fighting with each other, and forcing young demigods to do their bidding. The Lightning Thief gives the reader a modern take on an ancient mythology. Riordan sprinkles breadcrumbs of information that lead readers to discover for themselves more about Greek mythology. Riordan even goes so far as to further educate children on Greek mythology through Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, both companion books narrated by Percy Jackson himself.

I was so hooked by that opening line that, as a twenty-year-old junior in college, I still look forward to reading the newest Rick Riordan novel. I grew up reading his books, and at this point, I am too committed to the story and emotionally invested in the characters to stop. Though I will admit, I am a few books behind. Being a poor college student definitely has its disadvantages. I know when I pick up where I left off, I will not be disappointed with what I find.

Look, I didn’t want to become obsessed with the writings of Rick Riordan, okay?

That opening line just had me hooked.

 

You can learn more about Rick Riordan here at his official site. The Lightning Thief is the first book in the five-book series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, available on Amazon.

by Sarah De Kok

 

 

Pulitzer Prize Winner Geraldine Brooks Captures Acceptance and the Hamartia of Humanity

A few years ago, I read a book for an English class I was taking. When I first picked up
the book, I did not think it was going to be something that I would be interested in. Looking back, I can’t believe I ever had that thought. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks became my favorite novel – and I have read a lot of books! This story has so much depth to it and the themes are still extremely relevant.

Throughout history, people have suffered hateful intolerance. Whether this be caused by
religion, skin color, or gender, it has been revealed that during times of hate some people can come together to accept and support each other while others turn on one another. This is shown in the many stories depicted in Brooks’s realistic fiction novel. The tales in the novel illustrate the impact that a single individual can have on history as a whole.
While there may be violent intolerance, People of the Book incomparably represents interfaith acceptance and humanity’s unwillingness to live and let live.

By portraying different cultures, Brooks displays examples of both multi-ethnic and
interfaith acceptance in her novel and the reader gains a sense of the societal standards at that time the stories take place. This allows the audience to better understand just how brave the accepting the characters were. Hanna Heath, the main character, says it best when she states, “Then somehow this fear, this hate, this need to demonize ‘the other’ —it just sort of rears up and smashes the whole society” (Brooks 195). The Inquisition, Nazis, and extreme Serb nationalists all played a role in creating the hateful intolerance that is present in the novel by bringing about fear through violence toward helpless people.

History has a tendency to repeat itself and People of the Book represents this beautifully.
By showing the repetition of anti-Semitism and hateful intolerance, Brooks represents the beauty in the brave few who persevere through the fear. People of the Book brings to life the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah while teaching valuable lessons of respect and forgiveness. All the while showing the hamartia of humanity —the unwillingness to live and let live.

If you’re still skeptical, give it a chance! It may turn out to be your new favorite novel, too.

People of the Book can be found on Amazon.

If you have any novels that you unexpectedly fell in love with please share with us so we can love them too! Happy reading!

by Allison DeHaas

Why HBO’s Adaptation of “Watchmen” is an Attempt at Adapting the Unadaptable

There’s a reason Watchmen made Time Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest novels of all time. Without a doubt, fans of Alan Moore’s 1986 classic and comic book purists alike will likely despise HBO’s upcoming television adaptation of the famous, graphic novel, whether or not the work holds merit or receives critical acclaim as a TV show.

Simply, Alan Moore taught a generation of comic book authors and fans that the combination of sequential art and dialogue, the comic book, is a unique artform. Since its release, Watchmen has been dubbed the “unadaptable graphic novel.” Watchmen was designed to demonstrate the unique qualities of comic books, and demonstrates these elements in a way that is not just difficult, but impossible to be replicated in any other medium.

For instance, every page of Watchmen is structured on a nine-panel grid layout. This gives each page a central focus, the middle panel, and emphasizes key plot points or artistic renderings in the narrative flow. Issue five of the series, “Fearful Symmetry,” mirrors each page’s panels until converging in the center, which displays a character foiling his attempted assassination. Not a single page of the first 11 issues is a “splash page,” where a single panel makes up the entire page. Instead, the final issue opens with six absolutely breathtaking, haunting, splash pages depicting the destruction of Manhattan.

The emotional impact of these and many other moments is not possible to replicated in other media because Watchmen is not so much about the story being told, but how the story is being told. As Alan Moore said, “If we only see comics in relation to movies, then the best they’ll ever be are films that don’t move.”

I wish HBO the best on the Herculean task they have undertaken. Watchmen is not only the greatest comic book I have ever read, but is one of the greatest works of literature I have encountered. To keep with the original’s artistic integrity, HBO’s Watchmen should utilize the unique elements of television as a medium. Hopefully, the show can succeed on its own merits, if only it allows for more people to experience Moore’s masterpiece.

Creator Damon Lindelof and HBO are set to debut the series in 2019.

by Evan Davis

Submissions Closing October 1!

Just a reminder to all undergraduate students, our submission period for Issue 21 will be closing October 1, 2018.

We accept poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction from all students currently enrolled in an undergraduate program. Our goal is to find good, highly imaginative writing about contemporary life as you see it!

We do not accept previously published work, but we do accept simultaneous submissions. We also pay twenty-five dollars upon publication.

Get your submissions in to The Blue Route before it’s too late!

For more information, please check out our submission guidelines.

Our Submission Period Is Open!

Starting August 1, 2018 The Blue Route will be reading submissions for Issue #21! If you are a current undergraduate student, you are eligible to submit prose (1-3 pieces of fiction or creative nonfiction totaling no more than 3000 words) or poetry (up to 3 poems).

We want good, highly imaginative writing about contemporary life as you see it!

We do not accept previously published work, but we do accept simultaneous submissions. However, please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhereOur response time is about three months.

For more information, check out our submission guidelines.

If you’d like some general advice on submitting work, click here!