Bookish Thoughts · Life

Bookish (and Not-So-Bookish) Thoughts

This is a linkup hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. Random thoughts of the day, both book-related and not-book-related.


I’ve been kind of AWOL for the last couple weeks, mostly because I’ve been reading books about writing, trying to re-find my motivation for my novel idea. I’ve forgotten so much that I learned in my creative writing courses back in college, and I’m just trying to figure my way around again. So a stack of books on technique have been borrowed from the public library and I’m slowly working my way through.


This reading has not only helped me to figure out a plan of attack for my novel that isn’t so overwhelming, it’s also helped me to rethink POV, story structure, and even voice.

Part of my problem has been trying to figure out how to make my main character (a fascinating but not exactly good person) sympathetic to my reader. And I finally hit the nail on the head — the only way is to (and I hate to give this away, on the off chance I ever finish and publish it) make her an unreliable narrator.

It’ll definitely be tricky to write, but I feel so much more comfortable with the idea than the way I was going before. I’m not sure if she’s going to be insane, simply deluded, or just a big fat liar, but she’ll be absolutely not totally honest with the reader… until the end.



So, now, I need a list of books with unreliable narrators, so that I can see how the technique successfully works. I’ve already read Fight Club, Gone Girl, Room, Never Let Me Go, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but I need more. This is what I’ve got so far (from various lists online — they may or may not be accurate):

  • Atonement – Ian McEwan
  • Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  • Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
  • The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • London Fields – Martin Amis
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  • One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  • The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
  • Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  • House of Leaves – Mark Danielewski
  • Money – Martin Amis
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  • A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  • The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  • The Secret History  – Donna Tartt

Which is a lot…but I would love even more suggestions!!!


I love Chicago — this weekend is both the Chicago Blues Festival AND Printer’s Row Lit Fest. I heard about Lit Fest too late to go last year, but I’ve already written up my schedule of presentations and workshops that I’m going to AND I’M CRAZY BOOK-NERD-EXCITED.


I am so so so far behind in writing book reviews. So how happy was I to see Katie of Words for Worms share Estella’s Revenge’s post about a Reviewathon next week – I am so totally in. My list of to-be-reviewed (hopefully):

  • The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
  • The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  • Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
  • Life after Life – Kate Atkinson
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan
  • Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

And if I get really ambitious and read my recently recieved ARCs ASAP:

  • Multiple Choice – Alejandro Zambra
  • Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge – Paul Krueger



Has anyone ever had to deal with a micro-managing co-worker (not a manager, just a senior member of your team), who — even though his manager and the head of the department have told him to back freakin’ off and let you work instead of giving you word-for-word answers so you haven’t learned anything in over a year, you’ve just been copy-and-pasting — really can’t stop himself and continues “to help” anyway?

…just me then?

It’s almost getting to the point where he won’t be allowed to speak to me before I speak to him. Literally the most insane work relationship I’ve ever experienced.


One thought on “Bookish (and Not-So-Bookish) Thoughts

  1. Very interesting post. I realised reading your list that most of my favourite novels have unreliable narrators – thanks for pointing that out! 🙂


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