Posts Tagged 'Dave Eggers'

Home is Where the Wild Things Are

Voltaire (1694 – 1778), a prolific french Enlightenment writer, once alluded that great minds think a like. Well, let me tell you, great minds are coming together and hopefully they all think alike.

First of all, let me tell you about Maurice Sendak, the writer of one of my favorite books from childhood (and to be honest, probably right now too). He wrote “Where the Wild Things Are.” If you don’t know what the book is about or didn’t have it as a kid, than I pity you, for you did not live a full, well-rounded childhood.

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Maurice Sedak

Maurice was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928 and his most famous work is Where the Wild Things Are, which was first published in 1963. The illustrations have caused some controversy here and there throughout the times due to the seemingly grotesque appearance of the monsters. I first read the book when I was 7 years old. I got the book along with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs. These three books are the Lord of the Rings of children’s books. Get them and read them now.

Any ways, the moment I heard that they were making a movie of Where the Wild Things Are I was immediately cautious and a little angry. How dare they take a classic children’s book that basically shaped who I am today and make it into a 90-minute movie? I got over it as soon as Spike Jonze (one of my favorite directors) is directing it with assistance from a script by Dave Eggers (one of my favorite writers). It doesn’t stop there, Karen O, the lead singer of the art rock band Yeah Yeah Yeah’s is penning a song and some of the soundtrack for the movie.

Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers wrote one of my favorite books, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The book won a Pulitzer Prize. The book is very much what I call a psuedo autobiography. You can’t tell what’s true or real, but it’s a look into the life of an early 20-something forced to raise his younger brother due to the deaths of his parents when society seemed to value the yuppy, young “successful” lifestyle. Egger’s writing is both humorous and introspective with a touch of candid authenticity.   

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Spike Jonze got his start making commercials and music videos. He has also lended his acting chops in a few movies, including a prominent role in the highly underrated movie Three Kings. He directed Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. One of his best music videos is Praise You by Fatboy Slim. He makes a cameo appearance as “random” dancer in the music video.

Just look at these titans of their perspective industries come together to work on a national treasure. The hype is immeasurable, as it should be. The perfect storm of talent. My expectations are high as you can see, but even if it’s a serious letdown, I still have the book to go back to and I’m never too old for that.

Just look at the following photos. You cannot tell me that this isn’t going to be the best thing since the rubberband. You can believe that I will be there on opening night, maybe in my Where the Wild Things Are PJ’s.

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A Staggering Genius Writes Heartbreaking Works

Believe it or not, Jered is re-reading a book. This book called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Jered does not re-read books, but he is for this particular piece of work because of a variety of calculated reasons.

1. Jered read it almost five years ago.

2. Jered remembered that it was a great book.

3. As soon as Jered began reading it, he felt like it was like re-visiting an old friend.

4. Jered was not feeling particularly bold or daring enough on that specific day that he began reading this book to go find a new book to read. Finding new books to read is enjoyable and an adventure in itself, but on that particular day, he was not emboldened to undertake such a risky endeavor (aka he was being lazy).

Now that I have the formalities out of the way, let me tell you about this fine little read. First of all, I love Egger’s style of writing. He writes in a slightly sarcastic way, bordering on the sardonic, yet treading lightly as not to seem overbearing or rude. He is random in his prose. His thoughts almost seem disjointed and slightly unhinged, but once you read a particular story or theme, you’ll realize that it was very calculated. This type of writing might leave a person initially disenchanted and confused, but you’ll soon discover that it all makes sense.

The book is labelled a memoir, but with a creative non-fiction slant. Eggers takes a great deal of liberties to flesh out the book. He deliberately exaggerates the memories he recalls in order to weave together a yarn that makes sense. Admit it, I’m sure we have all exaggerated certain aspects of our memory when we retell them to others. Eggers just does it in a way that is believable and interesting way without it ever becoming a “big fish” story.

One of my favorite aspects of AHWOSGis the preface. It is the longest preface known to man (slight exaggeration) that seemingly never ends. I’m not going to give it away, but I felt like it was a novella on it’s own. A second thing I enjoyed about the book is that Eggers is extremely self-effacing. He is self-conscientious about being self-conscientious towards you thinking he is self-conscientious. He was 22 when the events started in the book. The catalyst of his story is when he is forced to deal with the death of his two parents, both of whom died within five months apart from each other. In turn, he was entrusted to raise his little 8-year-old brother in a world where the yuppie youth is driven by unhindered passion, selfishness and individualism. AHWOSG is so eloquently written that he reminds you of life’s uncertainties and sadness while retaining a sense of humor. On the surface, it might seem to be a comedic book, but once you dive past the layers, you’ll find a story of raw emotion and authenticity, where a man tries to make some small, sensible rationale in light of the world’s bitter treatment.

I suggest you give it a whirl if you’ve never read it. Take a daring move that I didn’t take (at least this last time around).


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