I both love and dread reading British author James Herriot. I love him because I consider him to be one of the greatest writers of all time. And I dread reading him, because any story of his that features a dog or cat will make me cry. Since I usually listen to his books on audio with the rest of the family, this means a lot of discreet eye-wiping and some flat out bawling into my coloring book.Continue reading
Does humanity tend toward pessimism whenever it looks toward the future? When watching and reading dystopian fiction, the answer appears to be yes. These futuristic worlds take place after a disaster of gigantic proportions—an invasion, a plague, a natural disaster. Most of these worlds are atheistic in design and pit their protagonist against overwhelming odds, in a bid for their own survival. Which begs the question, from where do these ideas come? Why does humanity look forward with trepidation? Dystopian is never about an improved world; always, something sinister forces people into survival-mode, where they turn on each other. Prehistoric creatures unleashed from a cave, aliens, robots, etc. Whatever the cause, it becomes a survivalist story.Continue reading
Once, a friend paid me a compliment. He said, “You are the most devout ‘irreverent’ person I have ever met.” Okay, maybe it wasn’t a compliment. It was a perplexed, worried statement. I thanked him anyway. As a girl who loves to approach life with humor, even the “serious bits,” as author Terry Pratchett would call them, it’s no surprise I would love the series Good Omens.Continue reading
The gale rocks the scaffolding beneath you. The sweat on your hands causes you to lose your grip on the iron rail. You came up to straighten the boards. Your heart pounds. One foot forward at a time. You can do this. TITANIC needs you. Her iron hull rises beside you. The next brutal gust rocks the narrow platform so much, you cannot take another step. Stranded eighty feet above the ground, you panic.
“Hold on,” someone shouts beneath you. “I’m coming up.”
You focus on breathing. The boards have shifted. You’re too terrified to try climbing down. You sit and wait until a cheerful face appears over the edge. “Hello, Archie,” your pal Thomas Andrews says with his usual grin. “Got yourself in a bind?”
You manage a nervous chuckle. Andrews helps you climb down before he secures the boards himself. Continue reading
Nobody likes a traitor..
Other than Judas, history has no more famous traitor than Benedict Arnold, whose name has become synonymous with betrayal. A military officer in the American Revolution and a friend of George Washington, Arnold fell to persuasion from Major John André, a British spymaster, into surrendering West Point to the British for £20,000. This would have enabled the British to cut off New England from the rest of the colonies.Continue reading
Have you ever wondered why a heroine makes the romantic choice she does, because you would have chosen someone else? That difference of opinion has often happened to me over the years, but never more than in the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Seated in the theater, my hands in a popcorn bucket and eyeballs glued to the screen, I knew if I had been lucky enough to be in Elizabeth’s shoes, I would have picked not the dashing and romantic Will Turner, but the witty and reliable James Norrington! Continue reading
I have a particular fondness for little boys. Their humor, their antics, the orneriness. I love it when my dad talks about his boyhood antics. Never in a million years would this girl have thought about dropping a cherry bomb down a chimney or hopping on a train! I enjoy reading about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn because Mark Twain knew what it was like to be a little boy. He wrote what he knew. He was, most probably, an ornery little kid. And the best fictional boys come from those who were ones. Continue reading
Sherlock Holmes made an enormous impact on crime literature. His unusual methods (deductive reasoning, observation, and intuitive conclusions) were so different from the Penny Dreadfuls of the day, he became one of the most famous characters in history (only Bram Stoker’s Dracula has had as much fame). But what makes Holmes live on when history has forgotten many other fictional detectives? Continue reading
The world had never seen, nor will see again, an author such as Terry Pratchett. At thirteen years old, readers caught its first glimpse of his satiric humor when he wrote a story about the Devil asking for help in marketing hell, becoming distraught with all the “noisy people” now crowding his “amusement park,” and begging the marketing agent to fix it. Continue reading
History has seen bloody uprisings and peaceful upsets. You could call abolishing slavery a “revolution,” also the feminist movement. But one revolution waged war on morality and traditional values, and its seeds began in Regency England. Continue reading