"To put it in the simplest possible terms, I find writing novels a challenge, writing short stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden."Thus, the way he goes about writing short stories is different than his approach and attitude towards his novels, which creates a different atmosphere and experience for his readers as well. Personally, I find reading his novels akin to eating a full-course dinner, and his short stories like drinking a relaxing afternoon tea. They're both satisfying in their own way. The following are a few of my personal recommendations for Japanese short stories:
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Ever been so exasperated at a company's service that you wrote a scathing facebook status about it right after you left? Ever tweeted your friends to get their input on what to buy? Yes, voicing your opinion on social media websites does make a difference, and a huge one at that, according to Gary Vaynerchuk.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a New York Times bestselling author and his new book, The Thank You Economy, talks about how critical social media is in today's cutthroat business world, how it is slowly reverting our economy to one that resembles the 'old days,' when local stores knew most of their customers on a personal basis.
He discusses how social media has brought a significant amount of power back to consumers via virtual word-of-mouth communication, and how businesses can use this to leave their competitors in the dust. He also talks about how social media can affect a company's efforts in branding itself and its products, for better or for worse.
In case you were wondering, here's a video of him defining what a "thank you economy" is:
True to what he writes, Mr. Vaynerchuk uses twitter regularly, and encourages his followers to voice their opinions on his page.
Vaynerchuk, who started off his successful career selling wine, also wrote Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, has been featured on FOX and CNN business programs as a business expert and social media consultant, co-founded an agency that deals with branding and startups, and has spoken at conferences around the world about his business strategies.
Boulder Book Store is excited to have Gary Vaynerchuk speak about and sign The Thank You Economy at our ballroom on Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 pm. We hope to see you there!
Friday, April 8, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
As for novels that were "too old" to make the list, there are two I am particularly fond of, Anna Karenina and Les Miserables. Both written in the late 1800's, these two gems serve as examples of great prose. Anna Karenina, a novel composed of 8-part installments by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, portrays the high-class society of Russian society with timeless romance and themes of jealousy, family, society and faith. Though it may be one of the longest novels you will ever read, Anna Karenina is worth it. The timeless characters and story still have a lot to offer in today's society, where many of the issues run rampant. We will shift our attention now to one of Victor Hugo's most important novels, Les Miserables. It is the story of strife and heartbreak of the poor in France experienced during the French Revolution. Following characters that experience love, death, prostitution, war and revolution, Les Miserables still stands today as a hallmark for human emotion. Les Miserables and Anna Karenina are similar in that they both examine the human condition, though in different extremes. The themes remain the same though one is in high society and the other in the gutters of the streets. Timeless works like these are proof that we are all essentially the same, and that feeling emotions of doubt, love, jealousy are all part of this world we all inhabit.
Many famous authors usually have one book that makes their fame worldwide. But what about the other works they wrote? For two of my favorite authors, J.D. Salinger and F. Scott Fitzgerald, I actually love the books that aren't their most famous. J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey is a favorite of mine, and one I think goes underrated most of the time. A compilation of two stories both published in the New Yorker, it centers on the youngest two children of the Glass family, the main subject for the majority of Salinger's work. The precocious Glass children who were once famous for their stint on It's a Wise Child (a radio show where children answered difficult questions) work through issues of society, religion and dealing with their eldest brother's suicide. For F. Scott Fitzgerald, everyone knows him for The Great Gatsby. However, I thoroughly enjoyed his debut novel, This Side of Paradise, which launched him into fame in the 1920's. This Side of Paradise focuses on Amory Blaine, a pretentious young man looking to climb the ranks of society. An interesting look at society's flaws, This Side of Paradise is definitely worth a read, as Fitzgerald's first novel is just as profound as his last.
There were also some books that I felt were unfairly left off Time's list, as they are classics in their own right. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Bell Jar are both widely read classics that I felt deserved to make the cut. Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a wonderful coming-of-age novel featuring the timeless heroine Francie Nolan and her dysfunctional, if loving, family. Almost a century old, Francie's tale still rings true with women and girls everywhere. And then there is Sylvia Plath, a figurehead for feminists everywhere who was also lobbed off the list with her first (and last) novel The Bell Jar. The story follows Esther Greenwood, a successful young woman completing an internship at a fancy magazine in New York City. The Bell Jar follows Esther's spiral into madness as she falls out of touch with society and the people who surround her. Profound and illuminating, it leaves readers questioning. Both of these novels prominently feature strong heroines and beautiful writing. Though written decades apart, they both still explore the human experience and open doors into different realms of possibility.
Don't forget to stop by on April 15th at 7:00pm for our "Revival of the Classics" event, featuring author Erin Blakemore!
Recommendations made by Jill, the Spring Intern at the Boulder Book Store. Need more recommendations? Find me on Twitter at @JillLovesCoffee!
Monday, April 4, 2011
Don't Worry, be different
Augusten Burroughs, bestselling author of Running With Scissors, wrote in his memoir about his older brother "Troy" in the chapter "He Was Raised Without a Proper Diagnosis." When the memoir Look Me in The Eye hit the New York Times bestsellers list a few years later, it became apparent that "Troy" was actually an alias for "John Robison."
Look Me in the Eye is Robison's personal memoir in which he tells his story of living with Asperger's Syndrome, a disease that is similar to autism, but does not hamper linguistic and cognitive development. Because Asperger's is identified by abnormal social interactions and communication, Robison lived undiagnosed until he was forty years old. Until then, he was hampered by his inability to 'fit in' in social settings, despite his intellectual brilliance and work competence. His books explain how he copes with his condition and how he became successful despite it.
Be Different continues his efforts to help his fellow Aspergians, those around them, and also other misfits by incorporating his personal anecdotes and observations with practical advice on topics related to self-identity and social ineptitude. Among the most helpful topics he covers are when to make an effort to fit in versus when to embrace eccentricity, and how to identify special gifts and use them to your advantage.
John once worked as a guitar special effects specialist for Kiss, as an engineer for a company manufacturing toys, and then set up a successful independent car repair business, but now works as a writer and speaker, and also works with Elms College and their autism and Asperger's graduate program.
For more information, you can visit his website here, which has a blog, information updates, links to his facebook and twitter pages, and resources for educators, too.
Come to Boulder Book Store on April 13, at 7:30 pm to hear John Robison talk about his new book and get your copy of Be Different signed, as well!