Holiday reading just got easier!

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Have some time over the holidays to curl up with a good book and don’t know what to read? Imprint has some suggestions of books that have recently come out.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – J.K. Rowling

This is the screenplay for the recent movie of the same title. It’s interesting to compare it to the book version of The Cursed Child, because Rowling has her name on both, but only wrote Fantastic Beasts. One is clearly true to the magical world fans came to love through the Harry Potter series, and one – well, is just there. The screenplay version of Fantastic Beasts allows fans to read and understand the motivation for each action, what each look meant, and all the small actions that may have been missed while watching the movie in understandable excitement. You’ll get to reimagine Newt’s world on your own and if you can’t get out to the theatre, it’ll be a great escape!

Photo by Theresa Shim
Photo by Theresa Shim

Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick

The memoir details events that Anna Kendrick has deemed notable and often embarrassing, with language that is reminiscent of what she might be writing late at night on Twitter. The casual writing and distinct voice immediately had me hooked, two traits that I love to see when I pick up a celebrity’s memoir.  A lot of doubt going into the book stemmed from the fact that she only has 31 years under her belt, but the memoir captures exactly that fact: she is only 31 and has only experienced so much in her life thus far. In line with her public image, there is a certain level of self-deprecation, plenty of sharp wit, and a clear lack of a language filter. It’s the perfect bit of light reading! While Kendrick doesn’t try anything fancy in her anecdotes, she writes compellingly about the way that her life experiences are complemented by some of her notable experiences in the context of the entertainment industry. Overall, the book provides a nice escape from your own life because of the way Anna Kendrick somehow manages to make everything feel that much more interesting.

The Introvert – Michael P. Michaud

Truly a cross between a stereotypical crime story and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, this 160-page novel focuses on a vacuum salesman, whose life centres on doing well at work, and his dog Molly. Written as stream of consciousness of what seems to be a severely autistic character, it’s a quick and easy read. He seldom talks to anyone, but the words in his mind are always talking, his thoughts are funny at times, and completely bizarre at others; he repeatedly wants to see the people “red and open” (dead). After a series of events, the main character becomes the prime suspect of two murder investigations. A good read for a wintery afternoon.

Photo by Theresa Shim
Photo by Theresa Shim

Michaud, a lawyer in Kitchener-Waterloo, released his second book, The Introvert, on Nov. 26th 2016. He also sat down with Imprint.

Any advice you have for current students? Any advice for students looking to get published?

Yes! Read everyday. Write everyday. It’s old advice but it’s true. It’s so easy to fall out of it. One or two days of not writing can turn into two or three weeks or months very easily. Almost like going to the gym. So read a lot and write a lot. And help yourself out and pick yourself up Stephen King’s On Writing. It is phenomenal. I am preaching to the converted here, but for your readers that would be my first stop. It’s inspirational and he has some fantastic advice for young writers. So that’s it. Write a little every day. Even if you write some minuscule amount like 10 words a day or 50 words a day, you’d be surprised what that can add up to over the course of six months or a year. I mean you can get a calculator out if you want, but the fact is it keeps you moving forward and there will be many days where you go well over 50 words, you’ll just get in the groove. But as long as you make yourself do those 50, there will be many days where 50 turns into 300 before you’ve stopped. I think people see writing a book as daunting, and it can be, if you’re, you know, just like if you’re in a football game and you’re down by three touchdowns, you can’t score three or four touchdowns on one drive. You know? If you’re down four runs or five runs in baseball, you can’t do it with one swing of the bat.

Garage Criticism – Peter Babiak

This book of critical essays on popular culture includes quotes from Kanye West, features a story on Arnold Schwarzenegger, topics such as 50 Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, Internet Meme rules, and other authors such as Virginia Woolf. If you like engaging in people’s thoughts, critiques, prophecies on popular culture, full of real life examples from a UW alumnus currently teaching in B.C., you will love this book!

Photo by Theresa Shim
Photo by Theresa Shim

UW alumnus, Peter Babiak, released Garage Criticism in September 2016. He took some time to talk to Imprint.

If you have any advice for current students and then current students who are looking to publish one day, what would you tell them?

Get it out there. I teach creative non fiction here … I have a class, actually as you called as I was editing a piece a student wrote. I think there’s lots of tremendous talent out there and I always tell my students … Like there’s a guy I know here, a writer from Vancouver, and he told me a number of years ago. He said, ‘Get at least five things out there. Get stuff out there. It will compel you to write and print it off and send it off.’ A lot of problems with student writers is that they just don’t ever feel good enough. And this is what I now do. I try to always have at least one thing out there for consideration. One thing. And you know, you get a rejection; so then you get two or five things out so there’s always something you can be waiting for. When you get back to your mailbox or inbox you might get that …you know 10 per cent of them might be good. But that’s the thing that I really, really try to emphasize: get stuff out there. But also at a practical level, do what Murray McArthur told me as an academic student: find a model and emulate it. There are finite sentences that you can write in the English language—you know subject, verb, object—it’s a grammatical issue. So you can bring everything down to a sort of procedure. Not to say that it’s mathematical, but if you can teach it that way and you can teach it to students. Sentences are not that hard and paragraphs are not that hard. Just write some. And write stuff with a view of getting it out there to get it published.

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