The Thirteenth Tale Book Review

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is a masterpiece of contemporary gothic fiction. Setterfield, a former academic, weaves an intriguing tale of an antique bookseller/aspiring biographer and an elusive author who is ready to finally tell the truth for an authentic autobiography. What unfolds is majestic, horrific, heartbreaking and redeeming. I won’t spoil the plot but there is a nod to the Bronte’s as well as other classics of gothic fiction. This book is for the average book lover and the erudite bibliophile alike and I promise you, reader, that you will not be disappointed in having read it.

Setterfield’s language is direct at the beginning, ethereal as the mystery unfolds, and masterful as the reader becomes more invested in the characters and the work itself. To call this a pastiche would be a disservice to Ms. Setterfield’s talent as this is extremely gripping and to use a cliché “a real page-turner”. There is an intricacy as the plot unfolds with a mysterious letter, a frame if you will, much like Wuthering Heights that allows a situation to ruminate before the real story begins. The main characters have more in common than one would think at first glance and this heightens the suspense of the plot and the emotional connection between the characters. The layers of shocking twists and truths amongst tragedy are not simplistic nor can anyone guess at what is to come. Setterfield does a great job of not only heightening suspense but delivering it in copious amounts throughout the novel. There is one part at the end, which again I won’t spoil for those who haven’t read it, that I have tried to figure out but I just cannot. Perhaps this puzzling plot development merits a second read for a true appreciation of what Setterfield is attempting with this character and it’s big reveal at the end.

I read this last Spring and was so anxious to finish I just ate it up. I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to read a contemporary example of gothic fiction done well. The subject matter toward the end can get a bit hairy for conservative readers as there is domestic violence and incest that drives certain parts of the plot. However, these instances are not so graphic(as far as the incest is concerned) to make anyone too squeamish.

I am not-so-patiently awaiting the second novel which is forthcoming from Diane Setterfield. Whether or not that work will also be in the gothic vein has not been revealed but I have high expectations for her next work on the basis of such a stellar debut novel.

The Proposal Film Review

The Proposal has fast become one of my favorite movies ever. I was reticent to see it as it looked like just another ‘cookie-cutter’ rom-com movie but when I actually went and saw the movie my opinion completely changed.

From the first scene where Margaret Tate sweats it out on a recumbent bike while pouring over a manuscript-I was hooked! I can barely manage to push buttons on my iPod when I’m on a cardio machine so more power to her! I felt that this was a pretty good(if over glamorized at some points) look into the job of a book editor. I’m sure not all book editors are either a)satanic tyrants or b)inept and philandering but I had not seen a film that focused on publishing in any way so this intrigued me.

Margaret Tate and I share a favorite book, which I will be re-reading momentarily but I don’t usually read the same book at Christmas time. I do, however, read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow every Halloween.

Though much of the movie deals with foibles and romance I really savored every scene at Golden Books. I wonder how hard it is to ascend to the point where you can be a book editor?  What education you need? What experience is necessary? I would be happy with Andrew’s job as an assistant to be quite honest. As long as I could read and discover new writers that would be heaven for me.

So thank you, screenwriter, producers, and director of The Proposal for bringing publishing to the big screen, even if it was just for a handful of scenes.

And….I’m Back!

I apologize for launching and promptly suspending my blog but I hope you will still stop by! I just finished the most intense experience with literature ever and I truly believe that this experience  has made me a better literature major because of it. Not only have I read works of literature that I otherwise would not have been exposed to, it has also allowed me connections with dear wonderful intellectual minds that I am so thankful for as well, and I will truly miss our weekly meetings.

With that said and  that loose end tied up, I am back to blogging! I have tons of book reviews to write, articles and fun things to comment on and many, many writing projects to allude to and discuss my process and progress with them.

It’s going to be a busy blogging summer here at BBCB(yay alliteration-my favorite) so stay tuned!

And yes I really DID go to the LA Times Festival of Books and I will blog about it(one month later is better than never), look for those blogs to trickle in this week.

Thanks for waiting and…

Happy Reading!