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Showing posts from April, 2014

What the Heck is Magical Realism?

What an excellent question, people!  Magical realism is a type of fiction that goes along like any average realistic/historical novel until suddenly the character starts talking to her mother's ghost or bursts into flames at the sight of her one true love.  This kind of book has scenes of magic that highlight the book's themes and heighten the drama of the story, without completely turning it into a work of fantasy.  I started reading a magical realism memoir recently and it's reminded me of how much I love the genre, so here is a list of my favorites!
1. Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston- This book is the inspiration for this post.  The writer interspersed stories from her life with stories from her family past, Chinese legends, warped oral histories, and allegories.  It's super confusing and trippy, but with a purpose. And that's my favorite kind of book honestly.
2. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel- I read th…

Book Review: On Writing Well by William Zinsser

I read this book for the first time a few years ago in middle school, when I got it as a birthday present from  an adult who had heard I liked to write stories.  At that time I was in this phase where I believed that the more adjectives and the bigger words I used, the more authoritative I sounded.  So when William Zinsser popped out and started telling me to Simplify, simplify, simply, my first impulse was to slam the book shut. But soon I saw the value of his advice, and that is how On Writing Well changed my life and my perspective on writing.
     What really convinced me to listen to him was how well he wrote.  Zinsser has this awe-inspiringly simple voice when he writes.  Reading his book was like sitting in an English class.  It was like listening to a soft-spoken but amicable relative talk.  True to his own teachings, there was not a single unnecessary adverb or frivolous noun anywhere.  And most of all, it was fun to read.  I think anyone, not just writers, could find enj…