Sidney Poitier. How do I describe a man who stood beside Martin Luther King Jr. during his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963? How do I describe a man who often was the only African American on the set of his movies? How do I describe a man who makes me laugh and breaks my heart because I know the beleaguered characters of racial injustice he played was also a role he lived? Continue reading To Sidney, with Love
NOV / DEC 2017: BY CAROL STARKEY
I’ve loved science fiction for as long as I can remember. From Flight of the Navigator to E. T. to Aliens, to the countless novels and short-story collections, to TV shows like Star Trek and Quantum Leap, sci-fi has surrounded me pretty much since birth. Continue reading A Wrinkle in Time
NOV / DEC 2017: BY CHARITY BISHOP
Amazon’s series The Man in the High Castle is many things… a sci-fi adventure with an alternate timeline, a mind-bending glimpse into a different history, a philosophical exploration of abstract concepts and themes, and… a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and struggle within different households. The series’ inability to choose sides, its devotion to creating villains and heroes in every faction, and its emotional moments make it unique. Continue reading Shades of Evil: The Man in the High Castle
NOV / DEC 2017: BY JESSICA PRESCOTT
“I’m always finding humans at their best and worst.
“I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.
“Still, they have one thing I envy.
“Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.”
If Death could speak… what would he say?
That’s the question asked by Markus Zusak’s bestselling coming-of-age novel, The Book Thief. It’s a story of bitter loss and even more bitter survival, narrated by the voice of Death and set in war-torn Germany during the 1940s. The protagonist, Death’s heroine, is a girl named Liesel Meminger; a girl who loses everyone she loves—mother, father, brother, foster parents, best friend—to the ravages of war. One by one, Death comes to take them away; and one by one, he bears their souls into eternity, leaving Liesel behind. Liesel wonders why it has to be this way. And Death has no answers. Continue reading Eternal Observer: Death in The Book Thief
NOV / DEC 2017: BY JESSICA SANTULLI
Life in the 1700s Scottish highlands is no easy walk in the park. Just ask Claire Randall, protagonist of the Starz original series, Outlander, now in its third season. Continue reading A Brutal Truth
HALLOWEEN 2017: BY CAROL STARKEY
Halloween is right around the corner, meaning it’s time for costumes, candy, and scary stories. Some stations play movies like Children of the Corn and Friday the 13th leading up to the holiday. Libraries will display frightening books. And children will be extra jumpy as they anticipate jump scares. Continue reading The Turn of the Screw
HALLOWEEN 2017: BY RACHEL KOVACINY
I can still remember the first time I read an entire, unabridged Sherlock Holmes adventure. I must have been about thirteen and knew I loved mysteries. I’d been devouring books about Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew for years, and my appetite for fictional crime-solving adventures just kept growing. Continue reading Haunted by the Hound
HALLOWEEN 2017: VERONICA LEIGH
Emily was in an uproar. Known for her volatile temper, she was furious when her older sister Charlotte discovered her private poetry and dared to read it. Her younger sister Anne offered some of her own poetry to read, to keep the peace, which led to a wild suggestion. They could try to publish their work together in a volume, to see if they could turn a profit. They needed money; they needed to find some way to provide for themselves. Continue reading The Brontë Sisters
HALLOWEEN 2017: BY RACHEL SEXTON
The years of history known as the Victorian era offer readers a plethora of literary possibilities to choose from and enjoy. Many impressive and essential efforts from authors of both genders from England and America have endured through the years. This period was before the world made much progress towards women’s equality, however, and one author couldn’t help but be a product of his times. Thomas Hardy wrote novels that remain in the public consciousness despite their often downbeat endings. One of Hardy’s happiest endings is in his fourth novel, Far From the Madding Crowd. In it, the three suitors represent patriarchal archetypes to guide women in their choices regarding the opposite sex. Continue reading A Madding Crowd of Suitors
SEPT / OCT 2017: BY JESSICA PRESCOTT
How old were you when you first realized good people do bad things?
Call me a late bloomer, but I was eighteen.
I was savoring my last summer before college; doing the thing I loved most in the whole world: reading. I was in the middle of a 600-page Western military epic called A Distant Trumpet, by Paul Horgan, and my precious, darling hero—Second Lieutenant Matthew Carlton Hazard—had just finished cheating on his fiancée by committing adultery with another officer’s wife.
Talk about a wake-up call, folks. Continue reading (Not So) Black and White: Jessica Dryden Prescott in A Distant Trumpet