A few members of the Black Rock & Sage staff have some fantastic picks for books, film, and television you should check out this month! Check them out below.
Stephanie Bachman, Assistant Editor:
One book that I keep coming back to is St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell. It is a collection of bizarre short stories with troubled children as imaginative narrators, ranging from sisters living among alligators in their family’s amusement park to children being raised by minotaurs in the Old West. The language is vivid, colorful, and addictive, so I’d recommend this to anyone in love with strange, creative stories.
Christopher Swensen, Prose Editor:
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is a hilarious fantastical narrative that is at its heart about the importance of art in perilous times. Written in the Soviet Union during the 1930s, the novel was not allowed to published until the 60s. What is within those censored pages is a story of the devil visiting Moscow to torment its most pretensions and privileged denizens. His retinue includes a fallen angel turned hit-man and a daemonic cat with a love for vodka, chess, and firearms. The story that ensues is at times slapstick, at others spiritual and philosophical. This wondrous novel has since inspired such diverse writers such as Salman Rushdie and Allen Moore. It’s definitely an underappreciated treasure!
Hannah Miller, Assistant Editor:
One of my goals over Christmas break was to catch up on my ridiculously long list of shows to watch on Netflix. Like a responsible person, I was going to start with those farther back on the list. However, when I saw Crazyhead get added to Netflix mid-December, I couldn’t resist. Crazyhead is a six-episode series created by Howard Overman (who also created the fantastic show Misfits), and this is British comedy-horror at its best! The show is about two demon hunters, Raquel and Amy, who are out to save the world from a mass possession. While an intriguing story line in itself, what really sets this show apart is the crude, laugh-out-loud humor, the fantastic acting, and the depth it delivers as it is as much about facing our inner demons as it is about physical ones.
Jeff Howard, Editor-in-Chief:
Alright, I might be about to offend some of the Jane Austen purists, so I’ll try to be delicate about this. I just read Nancy Butler’s and Hugo Peters’ comic adaptation of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (produced by Marvel Comics), and I really enjoyed it. In some ways, more than the actual book. In lieu of mounds of exposition we get really well-done drawing, and the pacing of the story is excellent. It de-emphasizes the role of the ancillary characters, including Elizabeth Bennet’s sisters Mary, Kitty, and even Lydia (as much as she can be de-emphasized, given her role during the final third of the story), and narrows the focus primarily the relationship between Lizzy and Darcy. Mrs. Bennet is still herself, but the added visual aspects helps to accentuates her personality. I would never recommend this comic adaptation as a substitute for Austen’s novel. No way. But Art Spiegelman did say that comics “are a gateway drug to literacy,” and I would suggest that Butler and Peters have created a gateway text, especially for teenagers or busy people who want to revisit Longbourne with new eyes, to the world of Jane Austen’s characters.
Visit the blog next month for more great recommendations from our staff!