For Every Aspiring Writer: A Must-See Movie About Books, Writing and Life

oc4Orange County is a hilarious, heartwarming movie centered around a book that changed one young man’s life. Shaun, played by Colin Hanks, is a disillusioned high school senior from, of course, Orange County, California. After his best friend is killed by a 20-foot wave in a hurricane surfing accident, Shaun starts to think “maybe there’s more to life than extreme sports and trying to get laid.”

As Shaun is sitting on the beach one day, he finds a book buried in the sand that makes him see things differently. He decides he wants to be a writer (instead of a professional surfer). He takes off on a mission to find the book’s author, a writing professor at Stanford University, and immediately sends his application to go to Stanford in the fall. Through a series of unfortunate yet hilarious events, Shaun, an A+ student, doesn’t get accepted to Stanford. He drives to Stanford with his burnout brother (Jack Black), who accidentally drugs the Dean of Admissions and burns down a campus building. But just as Shaun is about to lose hope, he runs into the professor unexpectedly and learns a few things about writing and life that he never expected.

Through Shaun’s struggle to find inspiration, he realizes it’s been there all along. Orange County is a must-see for any aspiring writer, published author, and anyone who’s ever had an epiphany from a particular book. Haven’t we all? Check out a clip from Shaun’s impromptu meeting with Dr. Skinner below:

“Don’t be afraid of that. You are a good writer. And every good writer has a conflicted relationship with the place he grew up…Joyce, Faulkner, Tolstoy. That’s what I love about your story. It’s very conflicted. At the beginning, you think these people are doomed, this family’s heading for disaster. Then as you read on, you see beneath the surface there exist these very real connections, these deep relationships. What I took from your story is this: Even in a world where people can be superficial and stupid and selfish…there’s still hope.” -Dr. Marcus Skinner, Orange County

Orange County has a fabulous soundtrack, too. Highly recommended! Listen on Spotify here: Soundtrack: Orange County the Movie

Five Fascinating Facts about Arnold Bennett

Interesting Literature

A short biography of Arnold Bennett, author of Anna of the Five Towns and Clayhanger

1. His first name was actually Enoch. Born in 1867 in Hanley, Staffordshire (part of the famous ‘Potteries’ and now a district of Stoke-on-Trent), Enoch Arnold Bennett was named after his father, a solicitor. Enoch Junior was sent to the school at Newcastle-under-Lyme (‘Oldcastle’ in his fiction), but he only became a successful writer after he had left his hometown in the Potteries. However, he would write about them in much of his fiction. It is an odd fact in the life of Arnold Bennett that he could not perhaps have written so well about his homeland of North Staffordshire if he had remained there. Would James Joyce have been able to write Ulysses if he’d remained in Dublin?

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Facebook Contest: Win $10 Off ANY Item in the PayIT4Ward Bookstore

Can you guess which vintage book this is from the illustration? Comment on Facebook with your answer and share the post! Winner will receive a $10 Codeless Coupon to the PayIT4Ward Bookstore. Winner will be selected at random at 5pm today, May 15th.

UPDATE- ALL correct answers to our Facebook contest will receive a prize! Just visit our Facebook page at and guess the title of the vintage book pictured below.

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