Author

Joel Higgins

Joel Higgins has 26 articles published.

is a writer, performer, and all-around video connoisseur based in Connecticut. If you're looking for a swashbucking, handsome, Westley from The Princess Bride-esque man, then you should definitely come to Joel's Dungeons & Dragons games, because he creates them all the time. In real life, he's been known to enjoy levels of nerditude unparalleled (in this galaxy) and is an avid Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Nonfiction reader.

2015 National Book Award Nominees

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The National Book Foundation’s list of nominees for the prestigious National Book Award was released today and we’ve got the full list of Fiction authors who are up for the prize. Receiving the National Book Award is a huge deal as a win would place the recipient beside such literary icons like Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, Alice Walker and Don DeLillo. Ten authors make up the list and this year’s selection couldn’t be more varied. Two debut novelists are making their appearance in the book, Angela Flournoy and Bill Clegg. But the nominees also include staples like Adam Johnson (a Pulitzer Prize winner) and Lauren Groff. All in all, this year’s selection is pretty exciting and we can’t wait to…

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Café at Shakespeare and Company Means We’re Going Back to Paris

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The clatter of silverware from Le Petit Châtelet next door rang in the background as I watched pure happiness sweep over my wife’s eyes. She lifted a copy of Ulysses from a display table like it was something precious, something pure. Indeed, she’d been looking forward to this moment for our entire honeymoon and it had finally come—we were going to purchase a dusty edition of Joyce’s masterpiece from Shakespeare and Company, the place where the book had originally been published and the author’s favorite bookstore. We left the store with the book (and a few other goodies) and strode out onto the brick-paved Rue de la Bûcherie full of life and love and all those other mushie-gushie feelings that…

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The Night Ends on Elm Street

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I was 5 years old and a man with knives for fingers was telling me to go to hell. But it wasn’t Freddy Krueger – it was my mom’s boyfriend Tim. I’d been woken from a dead sleep in an attempt to terrify me with a reference I neither understood nor appreciated. But that wasn’t the last time Wes Craven’s monsters would invade my cultural landscape. Years later I was home alone on a stormy night when the power cut out. Being from the South (land of actual storms), I was pretty used to this sort of thing and gave it only a passing thought. I was less composed, however, when my cell rang and the raspy voice at the…

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R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe Shares His Impressive Reading List

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If you were a young-ish person in the 90s, chances are you know all about Michael Stipe. As the frontman of R.E.M., Stipe paved a voraciously artistic path that cut right through the otherwise Grunge-riddled decade. Stipe’s cerebral performance style and unabashed insistence on self-expression was quite inspiring to me as a youngin’ in the south. That admiration was only heightened once I discovered that, as a Georgia native, Stipe also hails from below the Mason-Dixon. I’ve been addicted to everything he has done ever since. So when I stumbled across a reading list that he created for T Magazine in the event that he is one day marooned alone on an island, I immediately knew that his top 10,…

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Leonardo DiCaprio: From The Basketball Diaries to Serial Killer

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Like a lot of people, my introduction to the seemingly innate brilliance of Leonardo DiCaprio was in the 1995 classic The Basketball Diaries. At that point, DiCaprio was nearing two decades on this planet when he gave what is widely accepted as one of the most beautiful performances by a young actor in the history of American Cinema. The long, storied list of roles that illustrate DiCaprio’s creative prowess would take at least 20 articles to gather. So in the interest of time — and my fingers — let’s just say DiCaprio is his generation’s Marlon Brando. But something Leo — we’re on a first name basis — has only recently dove headlong into is the world of villainy. Calvin Candie…

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Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids’ to Premiere on Showtime

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Last year we wrote about rock icon Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids, which detailed one of the more infamous times in American rock history and charted the legendary relationship between Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The book was a critical and commercial success for Smith, who has been rumored to have been working on a cinematic interpretation of the memoir for some time now. And now, thanks to a message from Smith and Showtime President David Nevins, we know exactly what the next chapter will hold for Kids. Smith will be working with Penny Dreadful’s John Logan to release the memoir as a miniseries on Showtime. This news comes on the heels of the announcement of Kids’ follow-up novel, M…

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Dr. Seuss Book Collaborator Cathy Goldsmith Shares Experience

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Two weeks ago I wrote about the resounding impact the works of Dr. Seuss have had on my life. His reach extends well beyond the chapters of my childhood (so much so that I literally carry the man’s words everywhere I go). So it should be no surprise that I was absolutely thrilled at the prospect of yet another Seuss classic posthumously organized by his long-time collaborator, Cathy Goldsmith. As I wrote the article, I soon found myself adrift in a tidal wave of old (probably never reconciled) emotions. I sympathized with Goldsmith and wondered how difficult it must have been emotionally to conclude the work of the late genius. Today I got the opportunity to ask Cathy Goldsmith herself via…

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The Best of Twitter’s ‘Ten Things Not To Say To A Writer’

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Don’t you just love it when a Twitter trend is so brutally honest, it kind of hurts? Such is the currently trending hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter. This trend is exactly what it sounds like: writers ranting about things they hear all of the time and legitimately loathe. We’ve spent all day laughing and cringing at the entries in this trend, so we thought it’d be a good idea to throw together some of our favorites. Enjoy!                                                              

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Genre-Redefining True Crime Author Ann Rule Passes Away

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“Three percent of all males are deemed to be antisocial and without conscience, while only one percent of females seem to lack compassion for others. But the icy manipulations of that one percent are utterly fascinating. No one can be crueler than a woman without a conscience.” – Ann Rule, Empty Promises and Other True Cases. Ann Rule, a seminal author who redefined the true crime genre, passed away at Highline Medical Center in Washington on Sunday at the age of 83. She is survived by her five children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ann Rule first rose to fame in the true crime genre following an astronomical coincidence. It was the mid-1970s and Ann had been writing various true crime articles…

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Scamming Amazon: Creating a Fake Bestseller in One Week

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It’s no secret that the world of self-publishing on Amazon has been mired in controversy for years. But recently, I came across a story about an Amazon “success” that I feel perfectly illustrates the problem. This is John Havel. He’s a writer for The Hustle, a publication that’s currently embroiled in a month-long series about people who “game the system.” Havel penned an article about the insanely scammy world of Amazon Kindle eBooks last week. And while most people would turn away from the entire topic in disgust after learning just how seedy the world of eBooks really is, Havel instead decided to put this newfound knowledge to the test. He wondered just how hard it would be to scam…

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The Girl in the Spider’s Web Plot Details Revealed

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You know, years later, I’m still wondering how Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo became as popular as it did. But, unlike my usual ponderings on popularity (à la: 50 Shades of Crap), The Millennium Series’ rise to fame baffles me because it’s actually quite good. And, as a contrarian, underground, pseudo-pre-hipster-type guy, I’m not used to things I like being all that popular. But Larsson pulled it off somehow and was, reportedly, prepared to keep pulling it off for at least seven more novels past The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2007) before he died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2004. A lot of people thought the series was as dead as Henrik Vanger, but on…

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Dr. Seuss Returns Thanks to a Box of Forgotten Drawings

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It was the summer of 2009. I had failed out of college (I’ve since graduated), was bumming on a friend’s couch, and was unemployed. I sat on my friend’s stoop angst-ridden, unsure of the future, desperate tears streaming down my face. And then, for reasons I don’t grasp, a line popped in my head, “Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where the Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high!” I gushed. I sobbed. I spilled out a pain borne of years of loneliness and bad decisions. The next day, I rushed to the library, found a copy of Oh, the Places You’ll Go and made this document. I…

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Have Lunch with Stephen Colbert on Us

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“I’m trying to drop a few pounds…so I’m practicing portion control. I’m only eating small-sounding foods,” says comedian Stephen Colbert as he removes a Little Caesar’s pizza, a box of Thin Mints, and some baby back ribs to wash it all down. Now, just nearly a month and a half before he takes over the reins for David Letterman on CBS’ Late Show, Colbert is doing everything in his power to reintroduce his sharp-featured mug to the American public. This week, he’s hosting a five-installment lunch series officially titled, “Stephen Colbert has Stephen Colbert’s Daily Lunch with You, Starring Stephen Colbert.” The first and second installments have been posted and are, as you’d expect, wildly funny. My favorite bit from…

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8 Reasons to Watch Sense8

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You can say you don’t like it, you can say that it’s weird, but you can’t ignore it. Netflix’s recent series Sense8 has become perhaps one of their more polarizing properties. There seem to be very few centrist opinions on the show, which employs both a huge cast of lead characters and winding narratives more finely woven than a million-dollar rug. Personally, I loved the show, which is why I’m pulling my hair out in anticipation of the announcement regarding a second season. Show creator J. Michael Straczynski teased at San Diego Comic-Con this past week that we’d have an announcement within two weeks. While we wait for that announcement and in anticipation of the show’s Q&A session tomorrow, here…

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