Tag: lit

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

Posted December 17, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 2 Comments

The Art of Memoir by Mary KarrTitle: The Art of Memoir (Goodreads)
Author: Mary Karr
Narrator: Mary Karr
Published: Harper Collins, 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I have been getting into non-fiction lately and especially memoirs. I love reading bookish memoirs, exploring someone’s reading journey or a challenge they completed. I think I have an interesting reading journey and I would love to write it down on paper. I picked up The Art of Memoir to get some ideas and motivate me into writing it down, even if it may never become a memoir. I like the idea of experimenting with the memoir form, developing my writing skills; who knows I might put my reading journey up on my blog as a series.

Mary Karr is a memoirist that has three memoirs in print, The Liars’ Club, Lit and Cherry. All three have been meet with huge acclaim, though I have not read them yet. Karr is an English literature professor Syracuse University often teaching a subject on memoirs. The Art of Memoir draws from her own experience as well as some of her favourite memoirs, including Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The Possessed by Elif Batuman and Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov.

I found that this book had plenty of interesting things to think about when writing a memoir and it really got me excited on the whole endeavour. I really want to check out Mary Karr’s own memoirs and I am thankful that she put this book together. It does not offer a step by step guide but instead offers different examples on how to approach writing. I like how she kept enforcing the idea of sticking to your strengths and building from there. What works for Vladimir Nabokov will probably not work for me, even if I adore and want to emulate his writing style.

I do not know what will become of my writing, I now think of myself as a non-fiction writer (blogging). Since embracing this writing path, I have felt more inspired. I just need to experiment with different styles and see what works for me. Obviously blogging and reviewing is great but I want to see where I can go with my writing if I push myself more.

Remakes and Modernisations

Posted December 14, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 8 Comments

With recent rumours of another American Psycho movie adaption, I thought I might throw my two cents in about remakes and modernisations. First of all, I’ll start with American Psycho; I’ve read the book and seen the 2000 cult classic. Whether you liked it or not, there is no denying that the movie captured the essence of the book, with all its darkness and satire. Also, let’s face it; can you really imagine anyone else but Christian Bale playing Patrick Bateman? Ellis has said he would approve of the remake if Miles Fisher plays the lead (if you have seen the music video ‘This Must Be The Place’ then you will know why). But I can’t see the remake working as it is said it will also be a modernisation; I don’t see how the dark comedy will translate at all.

Apart from this movie, there have been many books that have been remade into movies and modernised but how often does it really work? With superhero and comic book franchises, it works because there are so many different avenues and story lines to explore but with a book you really are bound to the same story.

This brings me to a modernisation that I’ve actually enjoyed, two in fact, both from the same book. This Book was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel ‘The Scarlet Letter’. The first modernisation was the film Easy A, which took the concept of The Scarlet Letter and transferred into a modern high school environment. This movie took the concept of adultery and the effects of passing judgment and applied it to the high school issue of bullying. It was incredibly main-stream but I enjoyed it none-the-less.

The second was something I’ve not seen before, I modernisation in book form; this was Hillary Jordan’s young adult novel ‘When She Woke’. Like most YA novels, this is set in a dystopian society in the not so distant future. In the world, The Church governs all and the church is pretty much like Westboro church. As a form of punishment Hannah Payne has her skin altered bright red so the world will know her sins. Now she has to live in a society that will judge her without knowing her.

The concept of remake of a remake or modernisation done like When She Woke is new to me and I wonder how many books are remakes or modernisations. Which brings me to another thought; what is the difference between a remake and a homage? The lines seem to blur between the two but I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.