I Name the Next “Silver Linings Playbook” Follow-Up

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It’s easy for people to mock the stock-formula book title schemes of writers like “The Bourne Identity” author Robert Ludlum (his Wikipedia page says “The (Proper Noun) (Noun)”) or “The Firm” author John Grisham (in a story by BJ Novak, he’s enraged when his publisher releases his latest novel as “The Thing” – a placeholder title he gives all his novels and forgot to replace as a formality when he turned it in). Continue reading

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In Her Pockets She Found the Feathers

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You should read J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst’s new book “S.”

When I lived in New York, I’d go jogging down the Queensboro Bridge late every night and sometimes I’d see this homeless man pushing his cart back from Manhattan on my way. One night I saw a notebook lying on the pedestrian side of the bridge. Ever-hopeful, I picked up the notebook and brought it home, where my then-roommate-now-blogging-partner Jeff and I pored over it.

In the notebook were this homeless man’s diary entries, from every day for over a year. He talked about the shelter where he slept, his friends at the convenience store where he hung out, and about his sister, who he saw at Christmas to pray for their dead parents. It wasn’t particularly well-written, nor did it contain any great mysteries or yarns. But we all have a soft spot for that Found Story, the discovered artifact that will let us in on some unexpected real-life tale we get absorbed by.

J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst’s new book “S.” is that, only perfect.

Its perfection, at first, is its greatest strength and its biggest fault, but we’ll get into that in a minute. Continue reading