This Wednesday, Dec 11th at 7:30PM the Austin Film Society is screening a new documentary about the life of the illustrious Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple. If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Do yourself another favor, and learn more about the lady at the screening of Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth. The documentary studies the author’s life from beginning to end covering the struggles of her and her family in Georgia in the 1940s and 50s — Walker’s mother working 11hrs days just to make enough to ensure Walker had an education. Walker took that education and ran with it to become an artist, an activist, a self-proclaimed renegade, and the first black woman to ever win the Pulitzer Prize.
The film, like the woman and her writing, is sure to be both breathtaking and impassioned.
Make sure to drop by and catch this film. Wednesday, December 11 at 7:30 PM over at AFS at The Marchesa (6226 Middle Fiskville Rd). Price is $8 General Admission with discounts for AFS members and students. You can also get more details over on the AFS website.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged afs, alice walker, alice walker: beauty in truth, austin film society, BookPeople, pulitzer prize, the color purple | Leave a Comment »
The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero
Reviewed by Steve(n)
If the difference between a crime and an accident is intent, then the international cult phenomenon that is the famously terrible film The Room bridges the gap between an insidiously surreal performance art prank and a contemptible, cinematic atrocity. Ping-ponging between the two ends of the spectrum is Tommy Wiseau, the enigmatic auteur behind the sensation – revered as a wayward godhead in some circles and reviled as a tyrannical buffoon in others. Regardless of its initial impetus, this polarizing movie has mesmerized audiences the world over, and, even if there is nothing tangible to be gained from watching it, it’s impossible to avert your eyes from exclusive footage of a disaster.
No one is better equipped to tell the story of this catastrophic production than Greg Sestero, the costar of The Room, and his memoir The Disaster Artist is a charming, captivating, and slyly uplifting investigation of the film that he helped to create. Beyond mere rubberneck value, The Disaster Artist is an intelligently candid look at the American dream and the lengths to which some people will go to achieve fame. As a young and not-particularly-gifted actor refining his craft in San Francisco at the turn of the millennium, Greg Sestero had the dubious honor of sharing an acting class with a greasy, scarified, and damaged man who implausibly controlled a vast fortune and, among other things, claimed to be a vampire. This man of course turned out to be Tommy Wiseau, and, as the two developed a flawed sort of friendship, a bizarre thing of beauty wormed out of the scrap heap of their shared disappointments and metamorphosed into the worst movie you will ever see.
The Disaster Artist tells a braided story of a mediocre actor’s rise to unwelcome notoriety, the seemingly cursed calamity that was the labored creation of The Room, and, perhaps most intriguingly, Tommy Wiseau’s largely speculative immigrant’s journey from Eastern Bloc poverty to bootstraps riches. Neither a vanity piece nor a sensationalized tabloid, The Disaster Artist is an authentic examination of pure, unmitigated ambition and what is possible when you simply ignore every piece of charitable advice and commit to chasing your weird, inadvisable dreams. Just try to look away.
Copies of The Disaster Artist are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged austin, BookPeople, film, greg sestero, simon and schuster, the disaster artist, the room, tom bissell | Leave a Comment »
We’re long time fans of the fiction of Austinite Doug Dorst, whose most recent short story collection The Surf Guru, received attention in the New York Times when it was first published: “…the stories speak to an important literary pursuit: that of pushing limits, of embracing challenge…” How prescient the Times turned out to be. Dorst’s latest novel, S., a collaboration with filmmaker J. J. Abrams, pushes the limits of what a book can be and how we interact with it not just as printed text, but as an object to decode and decipher, an object that by its very construction influences the way we interpret the story told. No two people will read S. the same way.
We immediately agreed with the Statesman when they suggested S. as the Statesman Selects pick for December. You can read the Statesman’s review of the incredible reading experience that is S. this Sunday, December 8. Join us here at BookPeople when Dorst discusses the work, his collaboration with Abrams and how this innovative new novel is his “love letter to the written word” on Monday, December 9 at 7pm.
What makes S. so special? It starts with a book-within-a-book formula, but in fact it’s more than that – the physical book in the slipcase is another book (totally fictional and created for the purposes of S.): “The Ship of Theseus”. Open it up and inside you’ll find handwriting scrawled in the margins, two readers who communicate with one another through the years solely through these notes. Flip the pages and you’ll find postcards, napkins, receipts and ephemera all pointing towards a mystery about the author of “The Ship of Theseus” our two voices in the marginalia are attempting to figure out.
Immersive, imaginative and exhilarating in the way it redefines how one absorbs a story, S. is a brilliant reminder of the power and possibility of print.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged austin, Austin American-Statesman, BookPeople, doug dorst, j j abrams, mulholland books, s. | 1 Comment »
Katie “The Queen of Sweets” – Bargain Books Maven
Book: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
“I’m pretty sure Allie Brosh is a genius. She started her blog Hyperbole and a Half in 2009 and has a gift for storytelling. Her childhood and adult life are ripe with adventures. These aren’t the sort of adventures where pirates attack or you discover you’re awesome at juggling. Allie’s adventures are more like going to the bank, eating a whole cake and playing on the Internet. Incredibly simple yet expressive drawings (Allie describes them as having “precise crudeness”) accompany her stories. I’ve laughed, cried, cringed and commiserated as Allie related her dog problems, her trials with depression, her insecurities and her triumphs. I’ve been pushing Hyperbole on all my friends for year and now with this book, she’ll reach an even larger audience. So what are you waiting for? Get reading already!”
Six word autobiography: Seriously! Only six? But I’m loquacious.
Favorite word: Ennui
Least favorite word: Bromance
The book in your house you would save in a fire:
Signed 5oth anniversary edition of Animal Farm illustrated by Ralph Steadman. He drew awesome, scary pigs in it when I met him.
Who would be the more interesting dinner companion: Stephen Colbert OR Tina Fey?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged allie brosh, austin, BookPeople, christmas gift, holiday pick, hyperbole and a half, touchstone | 3 Comments »
Despite the over saturation of dystopian fiction in the past few years, it’s impossible to overlook Margaret Atwood’s unforgettable 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s one that I’ve meant to read for so long, and was very excited that we set ourselves the task to read it for the Required Reading Revisited Book Club. My expectations were already high, and Atwood far surpassed them. She set the bar high for everyone after her in terms of building a world that is unique, complex, and true to itself.
Offred is a woman chosen to bear children in a newly formed society where women’s roles are chosen by a theocratic government, and their lives are extremely limited and closely monitored as a result. Offred must learn to navigate this new world while she longs for the past.
Atwood manages to balance the larger societal issues with the smaller human ones with such ease. She has the power to break your heart with a few choice words. Twenty-eight years later and the story still has such strong relevance.
I can’t wait to delve into a discussion about this amazing book because it poses such big questions – about the meaning of freedom, about women’s right, about love and loss and loyalty and friendship. Come join us for the Required Reading Revisited Book Club meeting on December 8th at 5:00 P.M.!
Copies of The Handmaid’s Tale are 10% off for those who attend the discussion!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged austin, book club, BookPeople, handmaids tale, margaret atwood | 5 Comments »
Art Made From Books by Laura Heyenga, Brian Dettmer, & Alyson Kuhn
“Art Made from Books is all this really fantastic art made from recycled material — old books that were falling apart. I really enjoy going through and looking at everything in here. I think whoever did all this must have the sharpest x-acto knife ever. I just can’t figure out how some of this stuff is possible. I look through the pages of this book and gasp, a lot. I’ve seen books on paper craft before, and they were amazing and seemed impossible. But, this book is surreal. It’s like your brain is being pet while you look through this.”
~ ANDREW H
Live From New York by Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller
“It’s funny. It’s insightful. I loved it and I learned so much about the process of making TV. It’s chaotic, and there is absolutely no formula to success. Live From New York is not a narrative, but it’s a bunch of interviews with the actors, writers and hosts of Saturday Night Live. It tells the fantastic stories of SNL. My favorite parts are about Chris Farley, his life and death. It’s insightful, but it’s also just so incredibly sad. They describe him as a “man boy,” which sounds like it should be a joke, but it’s actually pretty depressing. His inspiration was John Belushi, but Farley never felt like he was able to live up to Belushi’s legend. While everyone around him loved and adored him, he fell into a dark hole of drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of feeling like he never measured up. Chris Farley was my fist real favorite SNL cast member, so it’s great to get this perspective on him.”
The Door by Margaret Atwood
“The Door is Margaret Atwood doing poetry. It’s always really interesting to me to see an author who can cross genres and do it successfully. Atwood is still able to convey the essence of her style in different forms. I’ve always loved her fiction. Specifically, it was her use of metaphor in her fiction that drew me in. You’ll read her novels and they come off as if they could have been written in prose. Her writing is beautiful, the way she can use metaphor and create something beautiful out of the mundane or the ugly and destructive. Dystopian ideas are made beautiful.”
Divergent by Veronica Roth
“This is a very catchy little page turner. I don’t read a lot of Young Adult fiction — just what my siblings recommend and love. My brother turned me on to Divergent and it is really a great take on dystopia. It’s compelling to read about this young girl trying to have a complex personality in a world that divides everyone into five separate personalities factions. Tris, the main character, is a really inspiring female hero.”
Posted in BookPeople Community | Tagged alyson kuhn, art made from books, BookPeople, brian dettmer, divergent, james andrew miller, laura heyenga, live from new york, margaret atwood, saturday night live, the door, tom shales, veronica roth | Leave a Comment »
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang
Translated by Chi-Young Kim
Reviewed by: Katie B.
This fable is about a hen who calls herself Sprout. Her life consists of laying eggs that she will never see again. She desperately wishes she could keep one egg to hatch a chick and become a mother, but on the farm this never happens. She leaves the barn she has known her whole life to venture forth into the world. It’s a story about striving for what you want, overcoming hardships, and realizing your dreams; even when those dreams are not always fulfilled in the way you had planned. It’s about motherhood, unconditional love and the sacrifices that a mother makes.
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a bestseller in South Korea. I believe it gives us a unique glimpse into a country that is rarely seen. The world depicted on the farm has an underlying darkness and the banyard community can be cruel. Maybe growing up on the border of a communist country, prone to threat, influenced the world Sun-Mi Hwang created. The original title translates to “The Hen Who Escaped From the Farm”.
South Korea is a highly-educated, economically successful country where technology and science are highly valued. Motherhood is honored, but single, unwed motherhood is still quite a shameful stigma that the woman’s family and child will share. In the last 30 years, women’s social status has improved dramatically, but South Korea is still very much a patriarchal society. Knowing that, I find it surprising and wonderful that a book about an egg-laying hen who wants to be a mom, a book that celebrates individuality, is a national bestseller. It was so popular that an animated movie based on the book was made in 2011 entitled Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild. It made box office history, with over 2 million viewers. It was the largest audience for a Korean-made animated film ever! The film rights were picked up by a Toronto based company that planned to release an English-lingo version in the US in 2012, but I couldn’t find any more news than that. It hasn’t been released in the US yet, but I bet it will in the future….especially if the book does well. And we all know the book/movie rule, right? The book is ALWAYS better!
Another aspect of this amazing story is that the Japanese artist Nomoco was specially commissioned to create the cover art and the beautiful, simple line drawings that appear throughout the book. The artwork and prose work together to make this book beautiful inside and out. You can see more of her work here: Nomoco’s artwork.
The book trailer and commentary from the translator, Chi-Young Kim can be found here:
Copies of The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly are available on our shelves at BookPeople and via bookpeople.com.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged austin, BookPeople, chi-young kim, fable, hen who dreamed she could fly, nomoco, south korea, sun-mi hwang, translation | 5 Comments »