Tag Archives: humor

More Chick Lit Greatness from Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is one of the many chick lit princesses out there nowadays, often throwing women into laughing fits followed by sobbing in only the way chick lit and chick flicks can.

Best known for her novel — which was then turned into the movie starring Cameron Diaz and Shirley MacLaine — In Her Shoes, Weiner is set to publish another book this coming July, according to this article by Chicklit Club.

This one, called The Next Best Thing, takes her typically funny, awkward female heroine to a new level. It tells the story of a girl who gets the green light for a TV series she’s been writing. She then heads out to LA to make it happen, as the synopsis explains.

At 23, Ruth Saunders headed west with her 70-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to be hired as a television writer. Four years later, she’s hit the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the show-runner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on a boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials. Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear and eye for writer’s rooms, bad behaviour backstage and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood rollercoaster and a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.

With Weiner’s experience making In Her Shoes into a movie and debuting her series State of Georgia last fall, it’s fitting and understandable that Weiner would want to write a book about the Hollywood production process. I’ve been in the mood to read another Weiner novel lately, so with the new one coming out, maybe it’s time I dig into some of her other goodies. Have any of you read her books? Which is your favorite?
Pre-order The Next Best Thing in hardcover for just $17.

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Review: The Imperfectionists

Recap: In a dying profession, only the strongest survive, but the weaklings still manage to squeak by. The Imperfectionists tells the intertwining stories of 10 newspaper employees and one very dedicated reader. They’re American transplants, reporting (and reading) the news overseas in Rome for an international paper. And as boring as some may find newspapers to be, the lives of those who produce them are far from it.

The novel, which smartly connects a series of short stories within each chapter, gives the reader an inside look at the life of a newspaper reporter: from the daily trials and tribulations of meeting deadlines to finding creative ways of writing a headline you’ve written a thousand times and dealing with curmudgeonly co-workers. At the end of each character-focused chapter is an italicized bit that tells the history of the paper up to the present-day; telling a subplot which ultimately becomes the main focus.

But this is by no means a story just about journalism. With each chapter, we get a glimpse into the lives of the paper’s employees — reporters, editors, and publishers. Most have sad stories to tell about lost love, crushed dreams, and a long life of misery. But they all have surprising twist endings, endings that will make you laugh, cry, and think about your own life.

Analysis: The best way to describe The Imperfectionists is that it’s like the Crash or Love Actually in literature form. Tom Rachman brilliantly weaves each character together from chapter to chapter. Some are friends. Some are co-workers. Some are former roommates. But they’re all connected in their literary world. And rather than telling one broad story, which could have been boring, Rachman gives each character their own chapter — their own 15 minutes of fame for their story to be heard. It really does feel like a book of short stories….but then it’s not, and that’s what makes it so smart.

As mentioned above, most of the characters’ stories are sad; hence the title The Imperfectionists. Most journalists are perfectionists. Every fact must be checked. Every sentence must make sense. Every page must be perfectly laid out. This novel shows how these people are perfectionists in their work, but not in their lives.

I may partial to the journalism focus of the novel because after all, I’m a journalist in “real life.” But the overall arc of the novel is a statement on what is happening to newspapers worldwide. Sadly, it’s a dying industry. Budget cuts and the move to online media are forcing papers to shut down, and Rachman explores that issue with The Imperfectionists.

MVP: Rich Snyder. Easily the most unlikable character in the novel, he’s also the most fun to read about. His role sticks mostly to one character’s story. But his attitude is completely ridiculous. He’s a 40+ man who reports as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. He knows how to do his job — and do it well — but not without a complete “frat boy” attitude, one that had me laughing out loud. Quote of note: “Dude, let’s commit some journalism.”

Get The Imperfectionists for $10.

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Gossip Girls Get Bloody

The only things hotter than sexy, rich girls are sexy, rich, bad girls. That’s why the author of the Gossip Girl series is doing a little change-up. Cecily von Ziegesar has written a new novel — a reboot of the very first Gossip Girl book, called Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer.

According to this article by Entertainment Weekly, von Ziegesar was approached by the CW to write a genre mash-up of her popular series. Opting to keep her characters human — rather than making them zombies or vampires — von Ziegesar chose to make the girls murderous.

She says she keeps the book funny and light, much like a teen slasher flick. She also says that other than the violent slayings, the reboot stays true to the plot of the original novel, as she explains in the interview with EW.

I took the original text of the first book and whenever I saw an opportunity, I layered in this story of Serena coming back from boarding school as this coldblooded psychopath, which, to me makes total sense. She’s sort of like the Ryan Gosling of Gossip Girl world. She has that deadpan style, doesn’t seem to have much personality and she’s really gorgeous, but then underneath she has this kind of scary ability to kill people.

Honestly, this idea sounds a little warped, but it’s absolutely brilliant. What a smart, inventive, funny way to bring back some spark to a tween series that’s grown boring over the years.

So what do you think the chances of the CW doing a special Halloween episode of Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer?

Get Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer now for just $6 — a total savings of 44%.

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