Scott D. Southard

Current State Contributor

Current State contributor Scott D. Southard is author of A Jane Austen DaydreamMaximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors, and Megan. Scott received his Master's degree in writing from the University of Southern California. More of his writing can be found at his blog, The Musings and Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard.

Sequels can mean big money for the authors of popular books. Even more so if they make it to the big screen. But now, there’s another genre of follow ups to novels that’s becoming popular. Scott Southard tells us more in his review of "Another Day" by David Levithan.

book cover
Hachette Book Group

Our book reviewer Scott Southard gives us his take on Saint Mazie, a historical fiction novel by author Jami Attenberg. 

Judy Blume is a beloved children’s author, but she’s had her fair share of adult bestsellers as well. Scott D. Southard brings Current State his review of her latest book geared toward grownups.

Summer books usually bring to mind lighter fare. A page turning mystery or a paperback romance, maybe. But for those who don’t mind a heavier read this summer, our book reviewer Scott D. Southard gives us his take on "The Given World" by Marian Palaia.

Book reviewer Scott D. Southard considers the new book from Michigan author Jim Ray Daniels.

We writers tend to take short stories for granted. They are practice. They are something students do in a class. They are throwaway ideas for a collection or a blogsite. Most recently, publishers have been asking authors to create short stories as a means for introducing a novel to an audience, sort of an awkward attempt at a prequel. Check out this free short story, now come back and buy the book!

Reviewers love to talk about the sophomore slump. Whether it’s a musician, a film director or an author, critics can’t get enough of speculating if an artist will be able to hit it out of the park twice in a row. And it isn’t just critics paying attention. The follow-up to a successful debut can often make or break a career. That second work is where artists prove to their audience whether they are a one-hit wonder or someone worth following for years to come.

Writers are constantly drawing inspiration from the world around them. A story idea can come from almost anywhere: a painting, a historical event, or even other books. Michele Young-Stone’s latest novel draws its inspiration from musicians, specifically John, Paul, George and Ringo.

These days, it seems every writer, producer, and director out there wants to say something about the apocalypse. Whether it’s a TV show full of zombies or a movie about an alien invasion, you just can’t seem to escape the end of the world. "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel is also about the end of life as we know it, but don’t let that deter you. This book is about more than just survival and desperation. It’s about humanity itself.

Blogging is one of the greatest things to happen to the art of writing. In a blog, a writer is free to do whatever they want. They can experiment with form or subject matter, and build a readership without worrying about the approval of an agent or publisher. It can also be a launch pad for a career.

It’s pretty common to hear people complain about the impact TV has on society. It ruins young minds. It contributes to obesity. It shortens attention spans. But while there’s plenty of talk about how bad television is for humans, no one ever talks about the influence it has on books. Exhibit A: "The Rosie Effect" by Graeme Simsion, which is the sequel to his New York Times bestseller "The Rosie Project".

"Bird Box" by Josh Malerman scared the pants off me. Please don’t think I’m saying this lightly. While horror movies can terrify me for days, horror books rarely have the same punch for me. Usually, they feel predictable, formulaic, like something conjured from an old episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" minus the wit or surprises.  But "Bird Box" was different, and it was terrifying.

Life is a wondrous bit of magical happenstance. Sadly, we usually forget that fact in the mundanity of it. We go from day to day lost in worries about jobs, family, and the future. Hours and days slip by one after another with little thought or memory attached to them.

Literature is filled with stereotypes about us Michiganders. If, for example, a character in a book is from Ann Arbor, you can expect them to be smart. If they are from Detroit, they probably grew up rough and tumble in the inner city. They might be tough, but they will have a hidden heart of gold. And if a character is from northern Michigan or the UP, they’ll be poor, struggling, and have a strong attachment to hunting and beer. Also flannel. There will be lots of flannel.

I never got the whole Stephen King thing. Growing up in the 80's, it was impossible to avoid him. Everyone seemed obsessed with King’s books and a new one seemed to hit the shelves each month. Of course, it wasn’t just the literary world, there was also always a new television mini-series or film in the works too. Stephen King was everywhere.