HULK’S ESSENTIAL READING LIST - 136 GREAT BOOKS FOR YOUR EYEBALLS (GROUP 1)

Hope you have some time on your hands. 

FILM SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE NATION ARE FILLED WITH EXCEPTIONALLY BRIGHT INDIVIDUALS WITH AN INCLINATION TOWARD CINEMA. THE KINDS OF YOUNG BOYS AND GIRLS WHO ARE EAGER TO SEE EVERY MOVIE ON THE PLANET AND EVEN MORE EAGER TO LEARN THE CRAFT AND PARTICIPATE IN THE VERY FORMATION OF THESE IMPORTANT THINGS WE CALL "MOVIES"... THERE'S ONLY ONE PROBLEM.

NOT ENOUGH OF THEM READ.

TO BE FAIR, THAT'S A STATEMENT WE CAN APPLY TO OUR CULTURE ACROSS THE BOARD. THERE ARE ENTIRE GOBS OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T REALLY READ BOOKS AND THE AMOUNT OF TIMES HULK'S SEEN PEOPLE REFER TO A RANDOM BUZZFEED LIST AS "AN ARTICLE" IS ENOUGH TO MAKE HULK'S SPINE CRINGE, BUT HONESTLY THOSE COMPLAINTS ARE NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. THIS COMMENTARY IS SPECIFICALLY AIMED AT THE LITANY OF MOVIE-LOVERS WHO DON'T REALIZE HOW MUCH THAT READING ACTUAL BOOKS WILL MATTER IN THEIR LIVES GOING FORWARD (ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT THEY MAY WANT TO ACHIEVE IN THIS BUSINESS). AND THAT'S BECAUSE HULK KEEPS FINDING THAT BEING LITERATE HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO HULK AND IT HAS ALLOWED FOR AN ALMOST COUNTLESS AMOUNT OF OPPORTUNITIES. BETTER YET, THOSE OPPORTUNITIES HAVE ALL LED TO MORE OPPORTUNITIES, WHICH THEN GO ON TO OPEN UP EVERYTHING, SO IT'S ALL PART AND PARCEL OF ONE BIG GLOB OF TREMENDOUS BENEFIT. THUS, WHAT HULK SIMPLY HOPES TO CONVINCE YOU OF IS THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU THINK A PURE MOVIE DIET WILL SUSTAIN YOU IN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HAVE A STRONG CINEMATIC CAREER, BEING HIGHLY LITERATE IS THE OTHER HALF OF THE JOB... AND IT WILL HELP YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE.

FOR STARTERS, IT TEACHES YOU HOW TO WRITE A DAMN SENTENCE. THAT'S PRETTY USEFUL ON ITS OWN, BUT IT ALSO TEACHES YOU WHAT CLARITY ACTUALLY MEANS. IT TEACHES YOU HOW TO ELICIT EMOTION FROM DESCRIPTION, HOW TO ABSTAIN FROM OBFUSCATION AND WHY YOU CAN BREAK RULES SOMETIMES - AND HOW TO BREAK THEM. BASICALLY, IT HELPS YOU LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH LANGUAGE, WHICH ISN'T JUST SOMETHING THAT IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL TO BECOMING A WRITER, BUT PARAMOUNT TO THIS OH-SO-COLLABORATIVE MEDIUM OF FILM.

HULK CANNOT URGE YOU TO CONSIDER THIS REALITY ENOUGH. MANY PEOPLE DREAM OF MAKING MOVIES AND SO THEY WRITE SCREENPLAYS AND THEY COMPLETELY THINK THEY ARE UP TO SNUFF. THIS PSYCHOLOGY LEADS TO A PLACE WHERE MOST WRITERS MAKE A SCRIPT WHERE THEY UNDERSTAND THE MOVIE THEY WANT TO MAKE, BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO COMMUNICATE THAT TO THE PAGE. IT THUS WILL NEVER END UP IN THE FILM. HULK CAN'T TELL YOU THE COUNTLESS TIMES HULK'S DONE A FAVOR FOR A FRIEND OF A FRIEND AND READ A SCRIPT AND... IT TURNS OUT THEY CAN'T WRITE. OFTEN THIS INTERACTION IS TROUBLESOME BECAUSE USUALLY THE DELUSION IT TOOK TO GET THIS SCREENPLAY IN YOUR HANDS IS THE EXACT SAME DELUSION THAT MEANS THEY WILL NOT BE CONDUCIVE TO HONEST FEEDBACK (AND IT'S DEFINITELY NOT LIKE HULK'S A JERK ABOUT IT). MOST AMATEURS JUST WANT A SOLID PAT ON THE BACK AND FEW CONSTRUCTIVE NOTES AND TO BE SENT ON THEIR WAY. THAT'S IT. YET THAT DOESN'T HELP THE PEOPLE WHO NEED TO HEAR THAT THEY CAN'T WRITE AND THE CURRENT MODE OF PURSUING WILL LIKELY LEAD DOWN A PROBLEMATIC AND UNFULFILLING PATH (AND BY THE WAY, THERE IS NOTHING QUITE LIKE THE RELIEF OF SEEING THAT A FRIEND CAN INDEED WRITE). HULK GATHERS THAT THIS MAY ALL SEEM LIKE SOME GRAND EMBELLISHMENT, BUT DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES TO BE ABLE TO TELL IF SOMEONE CAN WRITE?

ONE PAGE.

YOU CAN TELL IF SOMEONE DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO WRITE AFTER ONE PAGE. AND HULK HATES TO BREAK IT TO YOU, BUT IN THE PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENT THOSE SCRIPTS IMMEDIATELY GO INTO THE GARBAGE BIN (OR SCRIPT PILE THAT IS THE EQUIVALENT). OF COURSE, THIS FACT TENDS TO PUT THE FEAR OF GOD INTO PEOPLE AND THEY TRY TO DRESS UP THEIR SCREENPLAYS WITH AS MUCH PRETENTIOUS FAUX-INTELLIGENCE AS POSSIBLE, BUT YOU CAN SEE THROUGH THAT IN, LIKE, TWO PAGES. AND IF YOU OVERCOME A LOT OF WRITING PROBLEMS BY SPENDING FIVE YEARS WORKING ON A SCRIPT TO GET IT PERFECT, THEN YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY'LL COME BACK AT YOU WITH NOTES AND YOU'LL HAVE TO INCORPORATE THEM AND HAVE IT JUST AS PERFECT WITHIN IN A WEEK. SO PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT NO MATTER WHAT, YOU HAVE TO BE THE GENUINE ARTICLE.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT ANYONE CAN LEARN HOW TO WRITE.

REALLY. THEY TOTALLY CAN. LIKE ANYTHING IT JUST TAKES A TON OF PRACTICE, TIME AND EFFORT. AND QUITE HONESTLY, THE BEST WAY TO LEARN HOW IS BY DOING A LOT OF READING. HENCE, THIS LIST. HERE'S WHAT HULK THINKS ARE 136 BITS OF ESSENTIAL READING THAT WILL TOTALLY HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER WRITER.

NOTE #1: THIS LIST IS MADE IN A DISTINCTLY APOLITICAL VEIN. IT IS NOT MEANT TO IMPRESS ANYONE. SOME STUFF IS UBER OBVIOUS. SOME STUFF IS LEFT FIELD. IT IS NOT MEANT TO ACCURATELY REFLECT WHAT "THE WORLD" MAY DEEM AS A WORTHY LIST. IT'S JUST A PERSONAL ONE WITH PERSONAL INCLINATIONS. SO IN THAT SPIRIT HULK POLITELY ASKS THAT WE REFRAIN FROM THE "I can't believe you left _____ off the list!" OR "that _____ is better than _____!" THAT'S SOOOOOO NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. BUT IN THAT SAME SPIRIT, HULK ABSOLUTELY ENCOURAGES ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS BELOW!

NOTE #2: SOME OF YOU MAY PICK UP SOME OF THESE BOOKS AND BE LIKE "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????" AND THAT'S TOTALLY COOL. IT JUST MEANS YOU’RE NOT READY. THAT REALLY IS OKAY AND SOMETHING THAT WE DON'T ENCOURAGE ENOUGH. PUT IT DOWN. FIND SOMETHING THAT IS JUST A BIT OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND TACKLE THAT FIRST. EVENTUALLY YOU'LL COME BACK AND BE IN THE RIGHT SPOT.

NOTE #3: THE COMMENT HULK HEARS FROM MOST PEOPLE IN THE FILM INDUSTRY IS "I don't have time to read." AND THAT'S PROBABLY TRUE TO SOME DEGREE. BUT THE KEY IS TO JUST MAKE THE TIME. HULK WORKS WELL OVER 100 HOURS A WEEK WITHOUT FAIL SO THAT'S WHAT HULK DOES. HULK JUST MAKES THE DAMN TIME. HULK'S GO-TO METHOD IS 20 MINUTES OF READING BEFORE HULK GOES TO BED NO MATTER WHAT. IT OFTEN WORKS AND HULK ENDS UP READING FOR HOURS ORRRRRRRRRRR IT MAKES HULK EVEN SLEEPIER. EITHER WAY, YOU WIN.

NOTE #4: HULK'S MOSTEST PERSONAL FAVORITES THAT HULK WANTS YOU TO READ EXTRA BAD ARE MARKED WITH A "*" BEFOREHAND.

ENOUGH PREAMBLE!

ENJOY A SILLY LIST!!!!

GROUP 1 - PLAYS

SO... EVERY PERSON WHO SAYS THEY WANT TO BE A SCREENWRITER SHOULD TAKE A PLAYWRIGHTING CLASS. OR THREE OF THEM. BECAUSE HULK FINDS THAT EVERY DAMN SCREENWRITING CLASS YOU WILL EVER TAKE WILL BLATHER ONTO YOU ABOUT STRUCTURE AND CHARACTER AND HALF A DOZEN OTHER THINGS THAT ARE ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT YOU WILL NEVER LEARN WHAT FUCKING DRAMA IS... AND THAT SUCKS BECAUSE DRAMA IS EVERYTHING. SO TAKE A PLAYWRIGHTING CLASS. YOU WILL BE IMMEDIATELY INTRODUCED TO THE CONCEPT. AND IT WILL BE AWESOME. (ALSO: IT IS REALLY WORTH SEEING THE PLAYS BEFORE YOU READ THEM, BUT SOMETIMES THAT'S TOUGH).

The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works 2nd Edition BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE - BECAUSE HE'S GREATEST WRITER OF ALL TIME, NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS.

*Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts BY IRA LEVIN - ONE OF THOSE WITTY, MODERN META THINGS THAT ACTUALLY KNOWS HOW TO LAY THOSE HEADY CONCEPTS DOWN INTO HIGH STAKES DRAMA INSTEAD OF JUST TALKING ABOUT THEM. THIS ONE IS REALLY FILLED WITH SOME GREAT MOMENTS.

Plays: Ivanov; The Seagull; Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The Cherry Orchard BY ANTON CHEKHOV - AHHHHH CHEKHOV. A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK THAT HE'S THE KIND OF WRITER TYPIFIED BY VANYA, BUT CHEKHOV ACTUALLY HAD A TON OF DEXTERITY. IT'S HARD FOR HULK TO TALK ABOUT HIM WITHOUT LAUNCHING INTO A GIANT EXPLANATION, SO HULK'LL SETTLE FOR A VAGUE, FLOWERY SUMMARY: IN HIS OWN WAY, CHEKHOV IS A REAL MASTER OF THE HUMAN CONDITION.

*Abigail's Party BY MIKE LEIGH - WHEN TALKING ABOUT DRAMA, HULK ALWAYS TALKS ABOUT THE WANTS AND NEEDS OF CHARACTERS AND HOW THOSE WANTS AND NEEDS CLASH WITHIN A PERSON, AND HOW THOSE WANTS AND NEEDS CREATE CONFLICTS WITH OTHERS. THIS PLAY EXEMPLIFIES THOSE IDEAS PERFECTLY. A SEEMINGLY HARMLESS DINNER PARTY IS JUST DRIPPING WITH ALL THAT IS UNSPOKEN. CHARACTERS SAY ONE THING AS THEIR SIMMERING HATRED, LUST OR MALAISE IS JUST BUBBLING OUT FROM UNDERNEATH. IT IS, AS THEY SAY, A MASTERPIECE.

A Map of the World (AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING EVER DONE) BY DAVID HARE - HULK SINGLED OUT THIS PLAY SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE IT IS AN UTTER LESSON IN HOW YOU CAN GROUND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, SEXUALITY, POVERTY, CLASS AND THE COMPARTMENTALIZATION OF HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY INTO JUST TWO CHARACTERS.

A Doll's House BY HENRIK IBSEN - IT'S OFT READ, BUT STILL ONE OF THE BEST EXAMPLES OF A HISTORICAL EFFORT AT AN EARLY FEMINIST STATEMENT, SPECIFICALLY THE DOTING (AND TROUBLESOME) NATURE OF PATRIARCHY.

Arcadia: A Play BY TOM STOPPARD - A LOT OF PEOPLE TRY TO BRING SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS INTO DRAMA AND LITERATURE, OFTEN TO SOMEWHAT FORCED RESULTS... BUT THIS ONE MAY BE THE BEST EFFORT EVER. NOTE HOW IT GROUNDS THE IDEA OF SCIENTIFIC PURSUIT INTO THE CHARACTER PURSUITS AND THE IDEAS TALKED ABOUT INTO THE STRUCTURE OF THE PIECE.

The God of Carnage: A Play BY YASMINA REZA - A BRUTAL EVISCERATION OF THE VERY CONCEPT OF "ADULTHOOD." PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO HOW SHE USES THE CUES OF ESCALATION, SOME SUBTLE. SOME NOT SO SUBTLE.

Arsenic and Old Lace BY JOSEPH KESSELRING - "That was a play!?!?!?" YES, ONE OF THE MOST CLASSIC MOVIES OF OUR TIME CAME FROM THE STAGE FIRST. ACTUALLY, A LOT OF CLASSICS DID, SO THAT SHOULDN'T BE A SURPRISE. BUT HULK FINDS THIS TO BE ONE OF THE FUNNIEST PLAYS EVER. AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF STUFF HERE THAT WORKED ITSELF INTO THE DNA OF THE SIMPSONS.

The Servant and The Homecoming BY HAROLD PINTER - PINTER IS ONE OF THOSE HYPER-BRILLIANT GUYS WHO CAN TAKE A HIGHLY TANGIBLE, EVEN OBVIOUS METAPHOR AND STILL COMPLETELY GROUND IT CHARACTER. THE CONCEPT HERE OF SWITCHING ROLES OF SERVITUDE COULD SEEM SO FALSE AND MECHANICAL, BUT WITH PINTER'S MASTERFUL TACT IT JUST EEKS RIGHT INTO EXISTENCE.

Breathing Corpses BY LAURA WADE - A GREAT LESSON IN TAKING A PROCEDURAL PREMISE AND MAKING IT WHOLLY NON-PROCEDURAL AND HUMAN.

The Pirates of Penzance BY W.S. GILBERT  - CAUSE IT'S FUN AS HELL, THAT'S WHY.

'Night Mother. BY MARSHA NORMAN - MOST PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION AND HOW IT WORKS. THIS PLAY CAN ABSOLUTELY HELP. IT'S ALMOST AS COMPELLING AND COMMUNICATIVE AS THIS.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS - JUST A PERFECT ARTICULATION OF EMOTIONAL DECAY.

Pygmalion BY GEORGE BERNARD SHAW - GOOD GRANOLA IS THIS A GOOD PLAY. YOU'VE SURE AS HECK SEEN THE OL'  STORY DEVICE OF "SOMEONE SWITCHING CLASSES TO DRAMATIC EFFECT" BEFORE, BUT NONE THIS APT OR WELL-OBSERVED.

The Baltimore Waltz BY PAULA VOGEL - A GREAT LESSON IN HOW TO ACTUALLY STRUCTURE VIGNETTES AND STILL CREATE THE DEEP INTERTEXTUAL MEANING OF SINGLE STORY.

*What the Butler Saw: A Play in Two Acts BY JOE ORTON - LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS HOW YOU DO SHOCK. JOE ORTON IS ONE OF THE MOST HILARIOUS, FASCINATING PLAYWRIGHTS EVER. HE'S SORT OF LIKE AN OSCAR WILDE MIXED WITH SID VICIOUS, AND DON'T LET THE STORY OF HIS STRANGE LIFE AND UNTIMELY PASSING LET YOU MISS THE FACT THAT HIS WORK HAD LASER-LIKE FOCUS AND BRILLIANCE (ALSO, SEE PRICK UP YOUR EARS.)

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf BY NTOZAKE SHANGE - BESIDES BEING ONE OF THE MOST MOVING THINGS HULK'S EVER SEEN, IT'S A GREAT EXAMPLE OF POETRY-AS-STORYTELLING.

*Angels in America: Part One: Millennium Approaches And Part Two: Perestroika BY TONY KUSHNER - CALLING THIS PLAY "THE TOWERING ACHIEVEMENT OF THE 80'S" SOUNDS LIKE A BACKHANDED COMPLIMENT, BUT TO THIS DAY IT REMAINS ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE PIECES OF ART, LIKE, EVER. IT IS A STAGGERING EPIC OF WRITING THAT HULK FEELS UNABLE TO FULLY EXPLAIN EVEN TO THIS DAY... SO PERHAPS THE BEST THING TO DO IS JUST SHOW THIS CLIP FROM THE MINISERIES BECAUSE IT WILL TRULY HELP.

PLEASE, PLEASE WATCH THE WHOLE THING:

... YEAH.

READ GROUP 2 HERE

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