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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire



It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »
  1. $18.90 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Quick

    Lauren Owen 9780812993271

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Customer Comments

Lisa Brown has commented on (56) products.

Passing (Penguin Classics) by Nella Larsen
Passing (Penguin Classics)

Lisa Brown, July 9, 2012

Like Orwell's Animal Farm, this stands as a novella that could single-handedly justify and serve to reify the form. Sure, there's something to be said for the Great American Novel of 400, 700, 1,000-plus pages, but this slim little volume proves that stories clocking in well under 150 pages can still be just as great. Larsen's understanding of domestic conflict is as subtle and layered as her portrayal of race relations, lending her story a certain degree of nuance that seems lacking in Invisible Man or Beloved, in my opinion anyway. Definitely worthy of a required reading list or two.
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The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Lisa Brown, July 9, 2012

Meh.

One. Big. Giant. M E H .

For years, I've heard nothing but glowing reviews of this book, and I just don't get it. I'm sure it would be an amazing read if you actually read it really early on in your education so that you hadn't already received a distilled version of Campbell's song and dance from one high school English teacher or another, but given that I read it over a decade too late, I'm just stuck with an overwhelming sense of underwhelment.

Hero's Journey + Monomyth = tell me something I don't know, Campbell.

Not his fault, I know. But definitely not high on my to-read-again list.

Definitely seems like a solid secondary source for literary research papers though.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)



The Dark Half by Stephen King
The Dark Half

Lisa Brown, July 9, 2012

One of the first books I ever read by America's reigning king of horror and suspense, and still one of the best by far. Also the first and only time that reading a work of fiction has made me a little... well... scared of its author. It also piqued my curiosity re: King's pseudonym, but I haven't made the time to check out any of the Bachman books yet. Based on On Writing, I know King's motives for employing a pen name differ greatly from those of Thad Beaumont, but still: It kinda makes you wonder...
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Bright before Us (Tin House New Voice) by Katie Arnold-Ratliff
Bright before Us (Tin House New Voice)

Lisa Brown, July 9, 2012

Got myself a signed copy of this little beauty through Powell's Indiespensible program, and once again, my favorite independent bookseller did not disappoint.
The protagonist weaves a trainwreck of a tale, but if you're anything like me you won't be able to tear yourself away. An asshole, yes, but not a wholly unlikeable one [though he comes awfully close at times]. That being said, it's a story that rings fairly true, and for as reprehensible as the protagonist's actions may at times seem, he's not all bad and you have to wonder why certain other characters insist on being such gluttons for punishment.

If you typically shy away from stories designed to make you sad without following the downer up with some sort of uplifting positive message, then this probably isn't the book for you. It's sad and depressing, through and through. Which I guess is largely why it feels real to me. If you can find something worthwhile in pain and angst and some hopelessness and regret, then do yourself a favor and give this a shot.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)



Bright before Us (Tin House New Voice) by Katie Arnold-Ratliff
Bright before Us (Tin House New Voice)

Lisa Brown, July 9, 2012

Got myself a signed copy of this little beauty through Powell's Indiespensible program, and once again, my favorite independent bookseller did not disappoint.
The protagonist weaves a trainwreck of a tale, but if you're anything like me you won't be able to tear yourself away. An asshole, yes, but not a wholly unlikeable one [though he comes awfully close at times]. That being said, it's a story that rings fairly true, and for as reprehensible as the protagonist's actions may at times seem, he's not all bad and you have to wonder why certain other characters insist on being such gluttons for punishment.

If you typically shy away from stories designed to make you sad without following the downer up with some sort of uplifting positive message, then this probably isn't the book for you. It's sad and depressing, through and through. Which I guess is largely why it feels real to me. If you can find something worthwhile in pain and angst and some hopelessness and regret, then do yourself a favor and give this a shot.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)



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