book reviews, writing

The Signiconic & Negation in The Familiar by Mark Z. Danielewski

Critical Analysis of The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May by Mark Z. Danielewski

Pantheon, 2015

ISBN: 978-0375714948

Paperback, 880 pp., $25

thefamiliar

This book is a phenomenal start to an in-progress series that will eventually have 27 parts (Danielewski is currently at work on the third). It will be published on May 12, 2015, and you can preorder it here. (In my opinion it’s worth the money, both for reasons you can read below if you decide to stick with me and for the brilliant colorful artwork, high-quality binding/pages, etcetera.) There are some general thematic spoilers in this essay if you’re concerned about that, but the actual events of the novel are not given away. For a pdf version, which contains better formatting and all of the characters’ fonts, click here.

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book reviews, media, psychology

5 books that changed me & 5 that will

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about influence. I participated in a psych study last week in which I was asked how much I thought simple decisions–what class to take, what movie to watch, etcetera–influenced my future. At first I was certain the answer was hardly at all, but when I really thought about it I realized how wrong I was. The English class I took last quarter, for instance, had a huge impact on me and how I see myself, and if I hadn’t watched Don Jon last week I would be far less enlightened about film’s capacity to reveal double standards. (Watch that movie if you haven’t yet, please.) Books, of course, are some of the most important societal influences we have, so I thought it would be interesting to make a list of books that significantly influenced my life and my decisions. Continue reading

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college life, psychology, writing

on success & selfishness

The past few weeks have been incredible, in a less-than-adequate word–I’ll explain the details in this post–but all the great things that have come may way lately have also made me think a lot about the nature of success and intelligence in general. What I mean by this is something I became more aware of after reading (and listening to) a lot of David Foster Wallace: the inherent selfishness of, well, everybody. And yeah, really I’m just talking about myself here, but I’m talking about my selfishness, so there’s some irony for you. Continue reading

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