All the random stuff that seems to make up most of my life.
For a list of specific story recommendations, go here.
I read quite a bit, though not nearly as much as many people I know. I don't generally read things off the bestsellers' list, they just tend to not be my taste. I prefer novels that have a unique voice, or classics where it is clear the author was carefully crafting their work. These are just a few of my favorites in case you happen to be looking for a good book.
I, Lucifer, Glen Duncan; Most of my friends that tried it couldn't stand this book. Personally, I thought that the narrator's voice, lucifer's voice, was very well done. It is sharp and fast paced. There isn't much to the novel itself, it's not going to tell you anything you didn't know, and there's no great commentary, but it is worth reading for an, if not unique, well executed portrayal of everyone's favorite fallen angel.
An Arrow's Flight , Mark Merlis; This novel is fantastic. It's a synthesis of The Odyssey and being homosexual in the U.S. from about 19...70? to now. The combination is strange, but the writer's subtly beautiful style draws you in, and lends the unusual world a feeling of reality. Events and actions are not over-dramatized, and he goes out of his way to avoid idealization - and it is this simplicity, this reality, that makes the novel well crafted and a pleasure to read.
Farewell My Concubine, Lilian Lee; Painfully Beautiful.
Exquisite Corpse, Poppy Z. Brite; Do not read Exqusite Corpse if serial killer stories make you anxious, or gore makes you squimish. Do not read Exquisite Corpse unless you do not, or are not prepared to, embrace the human body on all levels. Brite does what a lot of fanfic does - she uses sex and violence to say something about her characters and as catalysts for their development. I realize many authors do this, but I note fanfic here because of the extremely explicit nature of those acts in Brite's work. There is no fade to black. It's a strong, and well crafted novel, one of the few I have actually read completely through more than twice.
American Gods, Neil Gaiman; I wouldn't be me if I didn't recommend something by Neil Gaiman. American Gods is his best novel (in my humble opinion). He does a lot more with symbols and subtext, with playing around with his craft, than I've seen in his work since Sandman. The novel is imaginative as all his works are, with a sharper edge of seriousness cutting beneath it.
I will give almost any movie a shot, but while grew up a television addict, I no longer really pay any attention to tv or movies. That said, there are still the occasional few films I do want to see, and those I'm fond enough of to put in my small collection.
Grave of the Fireflies; This film, an anime, is sad and beautiful. Directly, it deals with WWII, but there's commentary on the general human condition, of being alone, needing others, and the mortality that surrounds everything, that pervades it and makes it timeless. Don't watch it if you don't want to be depressed afterwards. Do watch it if you're a fan of the emotional power of well-made art and film.
Croupier; Starring Clive Owen. I would call it a black comedy, but I'm not positive it was really meant to be quite as funny as I found it. Owen's character is an author, and his use of his own life in his writings, his thoughts about life and the struggle to write, are familiar to me, even if the tone with which he delivers them is not. It is a perfect example of a down to earth story with just enough angst for me to find the characters entertaining and believable.
Secretary; For months I saw the cover of this film on the shelves at blockbuster and didn't give it a second glance - passing it off as another of those femme- fatale films that are always irritating and poorly made. Then a friend and I watched it on her sister's recommendation ( I did mention I'll watch practically anything) and discovered that it is, in fact, an excellent film describing two characters coming to terms with their BDSM relationship. While I cannot speak as an S&M practitioner, I have read several book on the matter and the film seemed to me truly supportive and emotionally accurate.
Labyrinth; Practically everyone's heard of it, and I'm trying to list films people may not have. But I can't help naming this one too. It's perhaps my favorite film. In college spent hours upon hours analysing the various metaphorical meanings that could be attatched to the characters and events. It's so perfectly tight in its meanings, its symbols, that I cannot help but appreciate it. To top it off, I have a huge weakness for controlling characters, so Jareth is just my style, even if he is blonde.