Archive: books

The Catcher in the Rye – High School Summary

F**k My Student Loans

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The follow-up book to the bestselling Crazy Girls, F**k My Student Loans is a story of the wrong way to pay for college at every step of the way. A true account of how to accrue over $120,000 of debt at two of the nation’s most-expensive schools, F**k My Student Loans is an examination into the business, history and current state of student loans.

 

This book puts loan companies and world-class universities under the microscope to examine why the charge so much in the name of a college experience. F**k My Student Loans is a must-read for all current and future college students and their parents. Anyone who wants to know how to pay for college needs to read this book and do exactly the opposite.

 

Click here to download on Amazon.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Summary

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is about a kid and his slave going on an adventure through the bastion of racial tolerance known as pre-Civil War Missouri. It’s the sequel to the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Watch here or at High School Summary.

The Great Gatsby Summary

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I’m Pretty Sure My Maids Are Writing a Tell-All Book About How I Horribly Mistreatment Them

How can this be avoided?

Call me paranoid, but I am pretty certain that my cadre of help that I employ around the house are starting to work together and not just to clean my bathtub. I am growing more and more suspicious that they are writing a book detailing their awful experiences incurred by working for me. I don’t know if they were inspired by The Help or if I am a little sensitive since seeing the book and movie’s success, but I think my maids around the house are writing something eerily similar.

My suspicions start with where they would probably begin their narrative: the unabashed abuse with which I treat them. I know you are probably saying that it’s OK because they’re maids, and that is exactly what I thought too. That was all before I read The Help. Then I was like, “Damn, those maids can write some abuse stories.” And let me tell you, my stable of maids have plenty of tales they could recant in detail.

On a wild guess, I’m going to say the first thing they’ll probably talk about would have to be the canings. Slapping a fresh piece of sharp bamboo across their backs if they miss a spot seems like it might merit its own chapter, if not the “hook” that we’d read in the introduction. I thought it would make them feel at home in Singapore, Acapulco or Indian reservation from where they are from. In hindsight, I now see the power of this sold through Amazon under some catchy theme like, “Hot Survival Stories.”

I would say their next chapter might be the wrenching pain that might have come with the separation from their children I caused. It is kind of a funny story about how I had an inside joke with my maids. “If you ask for a raise, I’ll report your families to immigration.” While they never asked for that raise to minimum wage, I thought it would be hilarious to tell INS where to find my maids’ children anyway. The agents busted into homes and schools to send their little rascals to far away lands. I now see how this could have struck a chord with my help. Read more

Buy Crazy Girls

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Have you ever gone on a first date with a total psycho? How about someone who showed you the satchel of cocaine she keeps under her pillow? Or takes you to Bible study to convert you? Or tells you her date rape story in horrific detail?

My first book, Crazy Girls, is available for sale on the Amazon Kindle Singles. It debuted at number one on the Kindle Singles Bestseller List and 11th for all Kindle sales in its first weekend. Costs less than a dollar and takes an hour to read. Crazy Girls is being reviewed as “Required reading for anyone who has ever had a terrible date…” and “An amazing read from first line to last.”

Any support, kind reviews, tweeting and Facebook posts and tremendously needed and appreciated. These things entirely depend on word-of-mouth, so any promotion is very generous. Check out the book here.

Things I Miss About New York: Racing to Read the End of the Chapter Before the Subway Doors Open at My Stop

This shouldn’t be a nostalgia day. It’s a perfect seventy degrees in the Southland while NYC is getting knocked with those freezing water rain pelts (I think there is another word for this).

I was just thinking about how all the fun has been taken out of reading ever since I moved west. This is partly due to the fact that no one reads books on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, so you can’t really talk about anything you’ve read, and – most importantly – appear intelligent. I think the thing that’s missing most, though, is that I no longer have subway car doors to race when the end of the chapter is in sight.

This is much more exciting than it should be, yet with all the competing media to get my entertainment dollar, it’s freaking awesome. The drama starts a few stops before you get to where you’re going. Let’s say you turn the page and it’s a full block of text without any of those little dot things (again, probably a word for this) to break up the page. And no one wants to put their bookmark between two pages full of text. That’s insane. In-sane.

But then you turn the next page and see that the chapter is over in around seven paragraphs. Then the conductor says your stop is next, and IT. IS. ON.

This is Waiting for Superman times a thousand. We can get kids to read without having them get smarter or ditch their video game mentality. I never absorb a single word under this kind of pressure, but I sure as hell am going to have my eyes cross every single letter. That’s part of the game. There are no cheat codes when it comes to beating the subway doors to the end of the chapter.


Download an eBook today

Unfortunately, the closest equivalent to this in L.A. is trying to read without getting into a ten-car pile-up on the Santa Monica Freeway. While fun, the risk-reward ratio is obscene.

The bus isn’t the same. First, no one can read on a bus. L.A. is pot-holed enough, and the city decided to save money by not adding shock-absorbers to the Metro fleet. And things aren’t working out in your life well at all if you’re on the bus in the first place. You’e not going to sweep all those problems under the rug because you got your hands on the New York Times Bestseller List.

This is motivation in its own right to build the L.A. subway to parts of town where people live and want to go. Sure, you can read and race the L.A. subway doors, but there isn’t all that much drama when the train is going to the corner of Western and Normandie before you have to wait an hour for the next bus to get your unemployment check. At least on the bright side, after you have received your last explanation of benefits, you have something to peruse for the long ride home.

Why Did They Translate The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo But Forget to Translate All The Swedish Names and Places?

It’s easy to knock any book that becomes one of the most popular in the country because America doesn’t read. Since we would rather do anything but pick up a book, this would mean that any book that appeals to millions of people must be catering to retarded people. So for the same reason I read The Da Vinci Code, I picked up the paperback in the same color as night-time reflectors for joggers and really don’t mind the book that much.

The thing about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo isn’t that it’s a terrible book, but that it follows the exact same formula as The Da Vinci Code for how to write a book that a massive audience will love. People who thoroughly enjoy reading are quick to say that the writing is terrible and the characters are one-dimensional and baseless, but if it’s so easy to do, then why haven’t you done it?

Because you need to walk an expert balance between looking like a really intelligent book and still being stupid enough to appeal to so many American in Walmart. This is an art in and of itself that is nearly impossible to replicate. The goal is to create something that makes people feel smarter than they are, while being stupid enough for them to not put it down. The movie Crash is a perfect example. Horrible, stupid and simple movie, but they “talk about race,” so stupid people who never talk about race think that it’s brilliant. It isn’t.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has nothing to do with good writing, but instead it’s like a verbal Sudoku puzzle, where the author has tried to craft a story where every chapter ends on a twist or little nugget of intrigue so that you feel like you’re solving the puzzle along with him. This is different from an ordinary murder mystery because those books take things into account like natural dialogue, internal thoughts and rich characters that make most readers feel like they’re too stupid to be reading the book. In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, all those literary elements have been done away with to make people feel like geniuses.

My only qualm with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has nothing to do with how smart, stupid or popular it is. What I hate about it is that they translated the whole thing from Swedish into English, yet they left all the original character names the same. I can’t figure out why they’ve done this. It doesn’t make the book more authentic, worldly or Swedish, it just makes it a pain in the ass to read because you never know whether a noun is a person, place, thing or bird species native to Stockholm.

Mikael Blomkvist, Lisbeth Salander, Henrik Vanger; you really translated all six hundred pages but you couldn’t switch them to Mike Bloom, Lizzie Sales and Hank Winger? They even invented a town in Sweden called Hedestad, but I have no point of reference for a freezing town where it’s dark for six straight months. Change the town to Herdville, put it in Missouri and replace winter with Walmart and we’ll get the idea.

It just comes off as unnecessarily pretentious to keep your umlauts in a book where we’re not going to know the difference either way. It’s not like the book is more authentic because you kept the original Östehrgarten rather than finishing off your Google translation of the entire book by putting the train station near Oscar’s Garden.

But perhaps this is the secret to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s success. It really could all lie in having two dots over the letter Ö. People are drawn to the catchy title and cover, they start flipping through it, they feel like they’re smart and then when they tell their friends about the exciting new book they read, they can add, “It’s actually translated from Swedish. It even has umlauts.”

This all taps into my original problem that it’s impossible to enjoy Swedish films or literature without thinking of the Swedish Chef from The Muppets, but add in a hot chick getting revenge from a sexual assault and a couple umlauts to help America play to the height of its intelligence, then go get ’em, Sweden. Dragon tattoos and all.

1984 – Conjunction Train Wreck

Third episode of the web series that my brother and I are putting together. Check out ConjunctionTrainWreck.com to see the other shorts and if you forward this to any rich people looking to buy web series, we would not fight you on this.

High School Summary

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High School Summary is a Student Emmy Award-nominated web series written and recorded by Max Lance and animated and edited by his brother Dan Lance. With hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, they are used by fans of the original material and lazy high school students who have an essay due the next morning and haven’t read the book. All episodes can be seen at HighSchoolSummary.com.

Adventures of Huck Finn

A Tale Of Two Cities

1984

Macbeth

The Odyssey

Hamlet

Art History

 

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