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TCR Talks with Tim Murphy

By Scott Stevenson

Tim Murphy is the author of the novel, Christodora, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.  It was also named a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian and an Amazon Editors’ Top 100 Books of the Year.  As a journalist, he has reported on HIV/AIDS for twenty years.

Correspondents is his follow-up to Christodora and was an Amazon Best Book in May 2019.

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Book Review: What A Body Remembers

By Laurie Rockenbeck

Karen Stefano’s What A Body Remembers is a timely and moving illustration of how our bodies instinctively tie our senses and memories together. It is a compelling book that reads as much like true crime as it does memoir, while delving into heady topics like trauma, PTSD, and victim blaming. Stefano manages to approach these subjects with a sensitivity that invites the reader to a deeper understanding of the after-effects of trauma while evoking empathy over pity.

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Book Review: Mostly Dead Things

by Leanne Phillips

“How we slice the skin: Carefully, that’s a given.” So opens Mostly Dead Things, Kristen Arnett’s debut novel about Jessa-Lynn Morton, a grieving taxidermist living out a less-than-satisfying life with her dysfunctional extended family in Florida. I’m a sucker for a killer opening line, a killer opening scene, and I knew right away that I was in for something special.  As the novel opens, we watch as narrator Jessa-Lynn Morton recalls her father teaching her taxidermy in his workshop. The scene is vivid and engaging. Right away, we begin to see what Jessa has been willing to do, ignore, and give up, all in an attempt to preserve or create the life she imagines for herself.

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Book Review: Three Women

By Jackie Desforges

Three WomenSince the publication and instant success of her debut nonfiction book, Three Women, Lisa Taddeo has stated that she set out to tell a story about human desire. She spent eight years researching and writing the book, and as the years progressed, the story narrowed: she went from writing about human desire to writing about female desire. She went from writing about hundreds of women to writing about dozens, and then less than a handful, and then, finally, three. She went from denying any requests for anonymity to shielding the identities of most people featured in the final book. The resulting story feels, at first glance, too specific to be universal: three women, living in small American towns and entangled in various phases of heterosexual relationships.

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Book Review: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

By Rachel Zarrow

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion is the debut essay collection from The New Yorker staff writer, Jia Tolentino. In each essay she examines the ever-growing quagmire of self-delusion that faces us, humans living in the age of the internet.

The book opens with the essay “The I in the Internet,” and the author’s assertion that, “In the beginning the internet seemed good” (3). Tolentino quotes her ten-year-old self who, on an Angelfire subpage wrote, “I was in love with the internet the first time I used it at my dad’s office and thought it was the ULTIMATE COOL” (3).  Tolentino understands the age of the internet more deeply than most. Her relationship with the internet has metamorphosed over two decades.

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Lake Sagatagan Summer

By Denton Loving

After evensong at the abbey, we walk circles
in the woods, weaving through deerflies

in kamikaze flights. The cerulean warbler
mates among these trees, we’re told,

so we keep vigil for blue flickers in leaves.
So far, nothing. On half-submerged logs,

turtles perch like hard-shelled gods—
We canoe to the deepest part of the lake

before we can talk about who we were
before the other existed as witness.

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Then and Now: John Schimmel

Welcome to the second installment of our new series on TCR’s blog, Then and Now, a column in which writers reveal and dissect earlier literary attempts which have helped form their current work. This week, John Schimmel takes a look back at an unfinished screenplay from 2006:

By John Schimmel

EXT. STANFORD UNIVERSITY – LATE AFTERNOON 

ESTABLISHING – The glorious campus of one of the more interesting, forward-thinking institutions on the planet. Sprinklers water the ample lawns. 

EXT. STANFORD PHYSICS BUILDING – LATE AFTERNOON 

White, three stories, topped with Spanish tiles, wrapped in semi-Spanish arches. 

INT. PHYSICS BUILDING – JANE GLEIZE’S OFFICE – LATE AFTERNOON 

JANE GLEIZE (35), fit, focused, Stephen Hawking brain in a healthy female body, stands at her whiteboard. Clutches a black marker as she stares at neatly written if indecipherable equations. 

A knock on her door. No reaction. 

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Summer Blockbusters of Yore: The Twentieth Anniversary of an Overshadowed Trilogy

By Pallavi Yetur

Early this year, New York magazine published a feature entitled “We Are Living in the Matrix.” The February 4, 2019 issue included several pieces about the lasting impressions left by The Matrix on everything from the way we think about and engage with the internet, to how it inspired fashion houses to send tiny-lensed sunglasses and billowing leather coats down the runways, to the film’s role in the propulsion of Keanu Reeves to the top of the A-list. The whole editorial undertaking was meant to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the launch of the iconic sci-fi trilogy. But there was another iconic trilogy that launched just three months after The Matrix and has not received the same level of attention. On May 4, 1999, Universal Pictures gave us The Mummy.

The Mummy was conceived by writer and director Stephen Sommers as a remake of the 1932 Karl Freund film starring the OG king of horror, Boris Karloff. In keeping with the original, Sommers sets his film in 1920s Egypt. Where Sommers begins to depart from the earlier film is in choosing a female protagonist. Rachel Weisz plays Evie, a librarian desperate to be taken seriously in male-dominated academia. Her awkward Egyptology geek is a charming foil and unlikely love interest for the muscly and sarcastic gunslinger-for-hire Rick O’Connell, played by the beefy Brendan Fraser. In their search for the lost city of Hamunaptra, Rick and Evie become entangled in the vengeance quest of an ancient Egyptian priest, Imhotep, who had been cursed to mummyhood after having an illicit affair with the queen and murdering the pharaoh.

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Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere

By Jhenna Wieman

Celeste Ng’s first novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a national and international bestseller, and her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, now available in paperback, does not disappoint. The novel is set in Shaker Heights, a community planned so specifically that there is a siren on Halloween announcing the start and end of trick-or-treating festivities. Trash is picked up from each resident’s backyard to avoid the unsightly appearance of trash cans on the curb, and the city’s motto is “Most communities just happen; the best are planned.”

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Times Change

By Bruce Shearer

CAST OF CHARACTERS
Bob Dylan, musical legend and survivor
Fan, A music lover who may or may not be a journalist

SETTING
The play is set in a backstage corridor.

SYNOPSIS
A fan or journalist meets Bob Dylan in a backstage corridor and asks him a few questions.

BOB DYLAN IS WALKING DOWN A BACKSTAGE CORRIDOR WHEN A FIGURE STEPS OUT OF THE SHADOWS AND SPEAKS TO HIM.

 Fan: What was it about Donovan that so upset you, Bob?

(BOB STOPS AND ALMOST STEPS BACK.)

Bob: Who are you?

Fan: I’m a fan.

Bob: Not from Rolling Stone?

Fan: We’re all rolling stones, Bob.

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