What we learned from author Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Peace Prize winner

A Nobel Peace Prize winner and perhaps one of the most famous Latin American writers, Gabriel García Márquez died April 17, 2014, at the age of 87. The master of magic realism, the influential Colombian writer is best known for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Gabriel García Márquez and his work are ripe for research into his handling of magic realism and how he shaped not only Latin American literature, but also all literature at the end of the 20th century. If you have never read any of his works, now would be the perfect time to start.

One of the many essential quotes made by Gabriel García Márquez during his successful writing career. (Credit: Enrique Limón)

One of the many essential quotes made by Gabriel García Márquez during his successful writing career. (Credit: Enrique Limón)

Gabriel García Márquez’s influences

Born in 1927 in the Colombian coast town of Aracataca, author Gabriel García Márquez was raised by his grandparents, who not only shaped his life, but his writing as well. Read more

Muppets Most Wanted: Perfect film studies research topic

Scene from Muppets' latest film Muppets Most Wanted. (Credit: YouTube screen shot)

Scene from Muppets’ latest film Muppets Most Wanted. (Credit: YouTube screen shot)

The Muppets have been around since the 1950s, and they became household icons in 1976, when The Muppet Show hit the air. Follow that with feature films, Webby-award winning YouTube videos, and a return to feature films with 2011’s The Muppets, and you’ve got more than sixty years of Muppet history. On March 21, 2014, the latest entry into the Muppet canon hit theaters with Muppets Most Wanted, starring (alongside the Muppets) Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey.

Like the many Muppet films before it, Muppets Most Wanted continues to rely on self-referential humor and breaking the fourth wall, engaging the audience as participants in the story rather than just watchers. Read more

Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” and “Anansi Boys” as media and literature research paper topics

English writer Neil Gaiman. (Credit: pinguino k)

English writer Neil Gaiman. (Credit: pinguino k)

Neil Gaiman is no stranger to the screen. His novel “Neverwhere” began its life as a BBC mini-series. His novels, “Mirror Mask,” “Stardust,” and “Coraline,” have all been adapted as movies. Gaiman wrote an adaptation of Beowulf for the big screen and, more recently, penned two episodes of “Doctor Who.” So while it is unsurprising that his fiction is being adapted for television, the news that his novels, “American Gods” and “Anansi Boys,” are on their way toward production, by Freemantle Media and Red Productions respectively, is being cheered by Gaiman’s fans. If you are looking for a good research paper topic in media studies or for a speculative literature course, consider speculating on the elements in these novels that will translate well to the screen.

“American Gods”

In “Neil’s odysseys and oddities: Neil Gaiman’s new book is a history lesson for Americans,” Alison Jones of the Birmingham Post called “American Gods,” the novel, upon its release, “a surreal road trip that seems to be part Jack Kerouac, part ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.’” Read more

Discovery Channel’s Klondike gold rush offers good research paper topics

Klondike features true events from the Yukon gold rush of the late 1800s.

Klondike features true events from the Yukon gold rush of the late 1800s.

Discovery Channel’s first scripted programming was the recently aired Klondike, a six-hour mini-series showcasing the struggle, determination, entrepreneurial spirit and often brutal life of men and women during the Yukon gold rush of the late 1890s. For your history paper, you can research the best history books and American literature to find material on a variety of topics highlighted in the program: Canadian history, Klondike gold rush and even American literature author Jack London, who makes an appearance.

Klondike based on true events

Based on true events, Klondike features characters based on real people who dug for gold in Canada’s Yukon Territory, adjacent to Alaska. After the gold rush panned out in the California and Colorado regions in the late 1800s, trailblazers and adventurers, as well as grifters and murderers, headed to the Yukon. Read more

Research paper help on Lyubov Orlova ghost ship, cannibal rats, and ocean conservancy

Lyubov Orlova in 2000, when she was still cruising Antarctica. (Credit: Jerzy Strzelecki)

Lyubov Orlova in 2000, when she was still cruising Antarctica. (Credit: Jerzy Strzelecki)

Ghost ships and cannibal rats don’t immediately bring to mind good research paper topics, even in folklore courses. They bring to mind bad films (such as the critically panned 2002 Ghost Ship movie, or the 1943 film of the same title). But the recent social media buzz about the fate of the rat infested Lyubov Orlova ghost ship, which may shipwreck off of Ireland or the UK, brings up possible research paper topics in ocean conservancy – as well as anthropology courses. Check out the facts behind Lyubov Orlova, stories about ghost ships, and the real world problems of abandoning vessels and other garbage at sea. Read more

Literary fiction: Good research paper topics

With a wide range of themes, literary fiction offers many research topics.

With a wide range of themes, literary fiction offers many research topics.

Students of literary fiction looking for good research paper topics have many choices. The field has a diverse range of themes and genres, such as women’s studies, folklore, mysteries, theatrical and drama, popular fiction, science fiction, African American fiction and many more. Here are some tips for choosing a topic and conducting research.

Many genres of literary fiction 

Romantic literature – One of the many areas of research in literary fiction is romantic literature, which focuses on poetry, novels and travel writing created between the 1780s and 1820s. Elizabeth A. Bohls remarked in her book “Romantic Literature and Postcolonial Studies,” 2013, “In three decades, the study of Romantic literature has changed dramatically. Read more

Research topic Amiri Baraka: the late Black Arts movement founder and literary figure

Amiri Baraka, Miami Book Fair International, 2007. (Credit: MDCarchives)

Amiri Baraka, Miami Book Fair International, 2007. (Credit: MDCarchives)

His writing stirred up a great deal of controversy during his lifetime, but literary figure Amiri Baraka left his mark on the American canon. The poet and playwright, born Everett LeRoi Jones in 1934, in Newark, N.J., was for a period of time, the poet laureate of that state until his infamous poem about the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, drew the ire of many.

A literary legacy

Before the controversial poem, “Somebody Blew Up America” that would color the last years of his life, Amiri Baraka was no stranger to expressing strong opinions. Read more

’47 Ronin’ movie mangles Japanese literature classic

Want the real story of the 47 ronin? Try the 1941 Japanese film version instead.

Want the real story of the 47 ronin? Try the 1941 Japanese film version instead.

No, no, no, no. Hollywood has once again ruined a classic story, this time mangling the Japanese literature icon 47 Ronin. Not only did the movie feel the need to fabricate demons, dragons and witches, but also to add a white American actor, Keanu Reeves. 47 Ronin is a story of samurai in feudal Japan who avenge their lord and bring honor to his name at the cost of their own lives. A good research paper topic for your Asian studies, Japanese literature or film studies class might be to set the record straight on classic stories from literature.

The traditional story

The story of the 47 Ronin (also known as the Ako Incident) is based on actual events that took place in 1701 in Edo (Tokyo) at the estate of Shogun Tsunayoshi, the military leader of Japan. Read more

Ender’s Game and Hunger Games: Young adult books as movies

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in Ender’s Game. (Image Credit: Richard Foreman)

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in Ender’s Game. (Image Credit: Richard Foreman)

Whether cult favorites or bestsellers, young adult books have been hitting the big screen in a big way since about 2001. The success of the Harry Potter films have inspired filmmakers to look for the next hit series, and with the conclusion of the Twilight films and the last Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, hitting screens this month, is Ender’s Game, based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, poised to become a new hit? If you’re looking for a good research topic for a film studies paper, take a peek at how the growth of the YA novel market has impacted the market for teen-centric films. Read more

Scary books and literary classics for Halloween

Reading a classic scary novel is bound to put yourself in the Halloween spirit. (Modifications by Papa Lima Whiskey)

Reading a classic scary novel is bound to put yourself in the Halloween spirit. (Modifications by Papa Lima Whiskey)

Halloween is the time to indulge in scary things. Hollywood may think it has cornered the market on scares, but I declare there are plenty of literary sources that can scare your pants off! I also offer my Halloween book suggestions of short stories, classic books, modern literature and graphic novels that will make you shiver. I dare you to read them late at night in a dark room by yourself!

Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe. Of course, master of the macabre Poe would be on my list. Rather than his classic Tell-Tale Heart, which involves a mentally disturbed man hearing strange noises, my selection is far scarier. Read more