Tired of making films? Need a new hobby that involves less social interaction with actor-types?
Tuesday kicked off National Novel Writing Month, affectionately referred to as NaNoWriMo by participants who set out to complete a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel by December 1st. NaNoWriMo is just one project of The Office of Letters and Light which works to encourage creativity in people everywhere.
Nothing sparks inspiration like an impossibly high bar. If you participate in NaNoWriMo, we recommend trying to write something better than these six literary classics:
1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Pip is a good guy, but such a jerk through a lot of the novel, that you want to punch him in the nose. You keep turning pages hoping he’ll snap out of his jerk-ness. I’m not gonna spoil whether or not he does, but… he does. Dickens writes some pretty fantastic characters. I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to ever say that.
-Ian, Community Manager
2. The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
It’s a roman a clef about the painter Paul Gauguin that provides a peek into what it means to be possessed, dogged, haunted, by a vision of genius. And the writing is brilliant. Character-driven fiction is probably my favorite, and I think that Maugham is one of the greatest at this style.
-Josh, Senior Product Manager
3. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
Sex, drugs and…well, showtunes. It’s a great coming of age story about three women fighting to make it in show business just after World War II. Fast talking agents, ruthless publicists and doctors quick to prescribe miracle drugs paint a frightening picture of the golden age of Hollywood. At the center of it is lots of romance but don’t naively expect a happy ending like I did. The problem is that even at their worst you really come to care about the three protagonists which makes their downfalls all the more gut wrenching.
-Stephanie, Public Relations Intern
4. The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
The Rum Diary is a wild-eyed bohemian adventure. Taking place in the corrupt little town of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Paul Kemp serves as the stories wandering drunk. In a similar vein to Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Paul discovers love, loss, greed and what integrity really means while working as a reporter for The Daily News and wandering around the countryside.
-Brendan, Social Innovation Intern
5. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke
An alternate 19th century history with some magic in it. One of the most satisfying books I ever read. Sometimes a bad ending or little thing will ruin a book, but this was such a rich book that halfway through, I didn’t care what the ending was because I was so happy to be on the journey wherever it went.
-Another one from Ian
6. Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
It’s a frenetic, cyberpunk adventure with a religious conspiracy, militaristic suburban city-states, and a samurai hacker. I like it because you can read the smart-person parts and feel all educated about neurolinguistic viruses, or you can just skip to the parts about sword fights on virtual motorcycles and explosions. And either way it’s fantastic.
-Julia, Operations Manager