Monday, June 10, 2019

Seven Books Worth Reading Plus One...Plus

I don't usually go in for these posting on demand things on Facebook, however...mostly seems a pain for people to do that too you. Once in a while, one comes about that I feel I can get behind, however. This was one of those. The idea is, choose a book you love, share it and say nothing. Share only seven books, one on each succeeding day.

It was a little frustrating, however. So I thought I'd alleviate some of that through a blog about these books and my reasoning in choosing them. Yes, perhaps this goes against the idea of the effort on Facebook, but I just wanted to explain where I couldn't on Facebook, to give a little background in the hope it might be interesting.

There were obvious books I skipped because so many know of them. A few seeped in below. Like, Dune, perhaps because it was so deeply affecting to me (see below). Others were also deeply affecting but did not get mentioned. Like The Hobbit, or Lord of the Rings, because so very many others also felt those books so deeply. I just felt it went without saying and the time and space could be better used with other books, less familiar to the public.

Here is what I chose and finally...why:

Day 1
Friend and actress; Jennifer True asked friend and filmmaker\director Kelly Hughes and he asked me to post covers of seven books that I love with no explanation, no reviews, etc. With each day, I'm also supposed to nominate more people.

I choose artist Marvin HayesAristotle's Works

When I was in fifth grade I was only allowed at our new house we'd just moved into, to go to the library on my bicycle. I was a bother as a child, not unlike my own son. Curious, investigative, always into...something. It was a wise decision. And I did go, only to the library when I asked. I discovered very interesting things. I'd always been fascinated by the written word. Sick of waiting for someone to read me the Sunday comics in the newspaper, until after everyone else finished reading the paper on Sunday mornings, I strove to learn to read young and never stopped.

On my first time at my new library, I discovered the "Adult" section. Not what you might think but definitely more interesting than the kid's section. It was directly before the door into the library, past the "old" ladies at the front desk, clearly in the open. I sat on the floor and started going through books, occasionally sneaking a glance at the front desk, amazed they let me unbidden at the adult section.

On that first time, I found a very old book by some guy named Aristotle. Single name. Starts with an "A". Had to be something, right? I started reading there on the floor. Something touched me. So I checked the book out. And they LET me! It was a fascinating dive into logic and ethics by the Master.

I knew I was onto something one day when I mentioned something relevant in the living room to my parents, a quote from Aristotle. By then, having looked up who he was in our family encyclopedia, which I also loved to peruse, I knew he was someone important, all throughout history.

My stepfather, who didn't much like me anyway, snapped at me that what I had said was stupid. I heard that a lot from him. I responded I wasn't sure that was right. He asked what would make me say that. Very carefully, a little scared, I said that he was a well thought of thinker all throughout history and many held him in the highest esteem.

He asked me, like who? I was surprised 1) he never heard of Aristotle as I kept running across him; 2) he didn't know people referenced Aristotle a lot and; 3) my response to him that, just about every educated and well-known person in history through highly of Aristotle. And that, shut him up. Thankfully.

From that exposure to Aristotle at such a young age, his way of thinking deeply affected me. All throughout my life.

Day 2
I choose, Nikolas HayesSlaughter-House Five,

Day 3
I choose, friend and fellow author Kurt GiambastianiThe Year the Cloud Fell

Day 4
 I choose, friend and photographer Erwin Verweij Something Wicked This Way Comes

Day 5
I choose, author Mark BaranowskiThe Star Thrower

Day 6
I choose, author Mark David GersonDune

Day 7
 I choose, author Stephen KingThe Books of Blood

I'm going to add one more book. Not just as pure self-promotion but as an honest comment about a book I wrote myself. I wrote it as I do all my stories to write something I've not seen before. At least in some way. I wrote my book, Death of heaven to show something I've not seen before.

I do not like to have to explain its format but for some, it may not have the depth it actually has. I wrote it to exemplify that "Heaven" (that is, heaven) never existed except in our minds, our mythologies, our religions. But even lies can and do have a base in fact. And that is the effort put forth in this horror / sci fi book.

We had a reason, as constructed in the book, to think there are Gods, to think there is an afterlife (maybe there is, but is there in the "Matrix" or is it another thing altogether?). And no, I do not use the Matrix as a foundation but something entirely different.

The Universe is not just as big as it is for us in the ways we conceive of. But in many ways, in many layers, in many dimensions. I tried to write a book that expands on that, expands our thinking, and offers some disturbing concepts and images to stretch concepts even further.

I based this book on Andrew, a novella about a five year traumatized boy who grows up into great things beyond that of any other human being throughout history. Andrew is a standalone ebook and the final story in my first book, a collection of my older and original short horror and sci fi fiction titled, Anthology of Evil. By the way, I have a sequel to this Anthology of Evil II but I have been busy and have not yet found a new publisher for it.

Death of heaven (see link for more) in my mind is the better book. But one leads into the other.

IF you want a book like you've not read before, give it a try. So far people seem to like it. It just hasn't had the marketing and attention it needs. See, m focus has been on film production. I've been focusing for years on screenplays and one of my favorites, the true crime biopic, The Teenage Bodyguard is now in talks with an active producer and we're building a plan for its production.

This past weekend Kelly Hughes hanging with the awesome Alison ArngrimMeeting actors Warren and Elif at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre in North Hollywood with Alison and Robert. — with Alison Arngrim and Robert Schoonover.
This week's blog isn't about film production but it's been my primary focus of late. So for an update...along with Kelly Hughes over at his Lucky Charm Studio, friend and fellow filmmaker and founder of the Gorst Underground Film Festival in its second annual event this fall where I have been and I am again judging films.

I hope to get one of my own in there this year or next. Kelly just produced his documentary Hush, Hush Nellie Oleson currently making the round of film festivals. And a music video collaboration with the Italian band Postvorta with the same, We're Nothing. I'm also in his book, Are You A Good Witch, with a shot of Alison Arngrim ("Nellie" from Little House on the Prarie), who "murdered" me in one of Kelly's films.

I'm currently in pre-production on shooting my own short horror film, Gumdrop based on a previous short story of mine, Gumdrop City. A true crime story. After I'm done with the Bodyguard project I'll move over to a horror comedy I wrote that did well in screenplay contests, Gray and Lover The Hearth Tales Incident. It is one that could easily lend itself to a franchise.

Getting back to the seven books, they are all great books. I don't put mine up there in the same category. But I've certainly given it a worthy effort.

I'll just leave you here with these reviews by reviewers. Make up your own mind:

From author and reviewer Michael Brookes:
"The book starts well and has a Books of Blood vibe, which really works well. It's in these tales that the author's writing ability shines. He demonstrates a lovely turn of phrase and some of the writing is almost poetic in its beauty."

From British Book Reviewer Lynn Worton:
"JZ Murdock has written a horror story that had me completely transfixed! I'm intrigued as to what he is working on next! Although horror is not one my favorite genres, I recommend this book to those who do love it."

From WILDSound Writing Festival First Chapter review said:
"The story itself is very strong, lulling the reader into a false sense of security as two young boys hunt for treasure, before ultimately morphing into a violent and sometimes disturbing tale of horror. This is done with such swiftness that it takes the reader completely by surprise, which only enhances the effect."

Check out Death of heaven!

Sláinte! Cheers!

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