Good things to read.
Ready Player One by Ernie Cline. This was probably my favorite novel of the last five years. If you’re between 35 and 45 years old, this book was written for you – it’s basically a love letter to the pop culture of the 1980s. And it’s a hell of a fun read.
Screenplay by Syd Field. This book changed the way I looked at the structure of stories (both in movie and novel form). I am not a screenwriter, but the principles in this book apply to any form of storytelling. I’d written two dreadful manuscripts before reading this book – the one I wrote after I read it was worlds better.
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. This was a huge book in my life. I read it in 2003 or 2004, shortly after seeing the movie (which I thought was an OK, but not great, film). So I’m reading it, knowing how it ends, and it still absolutely blew me away. I think I’d written two manuscripts by then (neither of which will ever see the light of day), and it showed me how far I still had to go before I could write something that good. I think it’s the best work of crime fiction of my generation. Years later, I would go on to sign with a literary agent – and as luck or fate or karma would have it, she’s Dennis Lehane’s agent and the one who sold Mystic River.
Good things to watch.
Quick Change. I put this Bill Murray movie in here because I think it’s the most underrated comedy of the last 25 years. I’ve probably watched it 50 times and it gets funnier with each passing year. For those who haven’t heard of it, Bill Murray dresses up as a clown and robs a New York City bank, and then spends the rest of the movie trying to escape the urban nightmare that is the city. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a masterpiece.
Breaking Bad. This is probably the best television show I’ve ever watched. The writing is absolutely brilliant. I don’t know how else to put it, but you find yourself rooting for crystal meth dealers. CRYSTAL METH DEALERS! It’s as close to flawless a show as I’ve ever seen (I’m watching Season 4 now, so I haven’t made it to the end yet).
Louis C.K.’s stand-up comedy. I just love his stuff. He’s freaking hilarious. I love standup comedy and I think he’s the best out there right now. I also like to read or watch anything about how standup comics do their thing – how the sausage is made, if you will.
Good things to use.
Index Card (iPad app). I’m the kind of writer who needs structure in my work. I love using index cards to sketch out scenes and rearranging them to fit the story. This app lets you do that with an infinite supply of index cards that don’t clutter up your house and your wife stays happy!
Good running gear. This is a bit generic, but as a lazy runner, I like having good gear. Specifically, good shoes all the time, and running-specific gloves and a running hat (make sure it covers the ears!!) for the cold months. Your feet and legs will thank you for the shoes, and the gloves and hat make wintertime running at least tolerable if not somewhat pleasant.
Keurig Coffeemaker – Maybe I have a low threshold for satisfaction in the hot-drink department, but I actually think that most of the Keurig products taste pretty good. I don’t need an A+ cup of coffee or tea, and I really don’t have time to screw around with that anyway. Either way, I love my Keurig, and it sees a lot of heavy use in my house.
Connect with David on Twitter, @DavidKazzie.