Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Notes and News

I thought it would be a good idea to begin a new year, and another year of Creating Van Gogh, with some short items I've been saving up and which might be of interest to readers of this blog.

* Just the other day, our local paper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, featured a guest column by Chuck Klosterman about the continuing--and growing--popular fascination with zombies. Klosterman referenced the current AMC network series The Walking Dead, and (of course) George Romero's iconic film Night of the Living Dead, but I wish he had mentioned the new novel Brains by my friend and UCA colleague Robin Becker. Narrated by a sentient zombie, a former college English professor, Brains is a decidedly postmodern take on the zombie phenomenon, both sending up and paying homage to its mythology. The book is also a real hoot: chockful of snarky pop culture asides and literary zingers and starring a loveable cast of zombie misfits, each of whom is endowed with a surprising, un-zombie like ability. It's a quick read, one that will actually have you rooting for the zombies rather than the humans. If that sounds entertaining to you--and by no means do you need to be a follower of zombie literature to enjoy the book--give it a shot. Brains has been on the market for only 8 or 9 months and has already earned a devoted following. One might even call it a new "cult classic"!

* Fiction writer/book reviewer/blogging and web site whiz Erika Dreifus has a new collection of short stories coming out this month. The collection, partly historical in nature, is titled Quiet Americans and is published by Last Light Studio Books. In the coming weeks look for my review of Quiet Americans on this blog. Then, after the review appears, I will interview Erika about the writing of historical fiction. That interview, too, will appear on Creating Van Gogh.

* Also this month, I will be interviewed by author and teacher Cathy Day on her blog about issues related to teaching creative writing to undergraduates. When the interview appears, I will let you know about it on this space.

I wish everyone--no matter where on the globe they are accessing this blog--a good and peaceful start to 2011. And I hope many exciting developments come your way in the next year.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks John! I, too, wish he'd mentioned Brains. Sigh. Happy New Year!