Get Out (2017)

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Written and Directed by: Jordan Peele

I live about forty miles from Charlottesville, one of the most socially and politically liberal cities in Virginia. Last week, in the unfolding Theater of the Absurd that is the daily news, neo-Nazis were grabbing their five minutes of fame. Dressed in white and carrying torches — like a terrifying parody of themselves — they gathered at a public park, protesting the removal of a statue of  Virginia’s most beloved Confederate general, Robert E. Lee. Rumor has it they were joined by Richard Spencer, a vile lunatic whose blog has called for the genocide of Black people

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Closer Than You Think by S.A. Barton

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Closer

 

Ebook

Published December 24, 2016 by Smashwords Edition

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Writing dystopian fiction in this day and age poses many challenges, not the least of which is this: how do you keep up? Many of the dystopian premises we see in literature are already popping up in the news — in some form — and often, as Lord Byron famously observed, truth is stranger than fiction.

That was my reaction this week when the media revealed, not for the first time, that employers are microchipping workers. (One of my dogs has a microchip. But if I hired someone to work for me, I would trust them not to wander off and get lost.)

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Moonlight (2016) (Mild Spoilers)

cyy-htkvqaadir8Written by: Barry Jenkins, based on “In Midnight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

At around age nine, growing up in Miami in the 1980s, Chiron (pronounced Shy-rone, not like the mythological centaur) has already learned to take care of himself. His mother (Naomie Harris) is sinking into the quagmire of addiction, and he is relentlessly tormented by bullies, who have already labeled him a “faggot.” He’s too quiet, too sensitive, too gentle — and he’s on the fringes of exploring the fact that he’s gay. In his struggle for self-preservation, Chiron camouflages himself in silence.

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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The Underground RailroadKindle Edition, 306 pages

Published: August 2, 2016 by Doubleday

Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2017), National Book Award for Fiction (2016), The Rooster – The Morning News Tournament of Books (2017), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Fiction (2016), Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2016)

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Whitehead’s dark, brilliant novel takes us through the looking glass into an alternative version of the pre-Civil War South — a pastiche of our country’s brutal history of racism, before and after slavery. It is not for the faint of heart. I talked to several people on Facebook who suffered nightmares while reading it. This is, oddly enough, a fitting tribute to this book, which takes you to dark places while enticing you with the beauty of its language.
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Memorable Onscreen Sociopaths

Emotionally shallow, impulsive, and easily bored. Often charming and manipulative. Lacking in empathy and conscience. Potentially brutal. Sometimes as crazy as shit-house rats. Psychopaths, particularly those who are spectacularly violent, offer endless fodder for writers and film-makers.

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These characters vary dramatically, spanning a wide continuum. Some have explosive rages; others are unflappably calm. Some are on the wrong side of the law, and others manage to play within the rules. But they all share lack of empathy and connection to others along with a penchant for some form of cruelty.

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I Killed My Mother (2009)

Written & Directed by: Xavier Dolanma mere

Setting: Québéc

Recommended by: Drew at A Fistful of Films

Seventeen-year-old Hubert (Xavier Dolan) is the only child of Chantal (Anne Dorval), an overwhelmed and somewhat emotionally immature single mother. Having survived her childhood with a severely mentally ill mom and struggled to singlehandedly support her son, she can’t understand why Hubert isn’t more grateful. Meanwhile, trapped inside his tumultuous feelings toward his mother, Hubert videotapes himself delivering monologues about his burgeoning dislike for her.

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March by Geraldine Brooks

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March

Paperback, 280 pages

Published: January 31, 2006 by Penguin (1st published October 10, 2004)

Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2006)

 

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March re-imagines the absent father in Little Women, who went to war and returned to his wife and daughters in a memorable Christmas scene. Although Geraldine Brooks adopted the elegant, rather formal language of the period, in a novel reflecting many of the moral values in Louisa May Alcott’s most famous classic, March is not a children’s story. It is a war story, gorgeous and eloquent but also raw and brutal.

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