I’ll be honest. I took way too long to settle on a topic for this issue, “Love Triangles.”
I sat and stared at my blank computer screen, racking my brains for something—anything!—yet coming up empty. Finally, I complained to a dear friend (and fellow Femnista writer). “Where have all the good love triangles gone? Why, oh why, can’t I think of one?”
Her response was immediate: “Sense and Sensibility! Your favorite Austen story!”
And lo, out of darkness, there appeared a great light… in my brain, that is. “Oh.” Continue reading
Few authors capture the magic of childhood as well as Rumer Godden.
Until a year ago, I’d have argued the finest example is Godden’s Christmastime classic, The Story of Holly and Ivy, dual-narrated by a lonely orphan girl and a lonely doll without an owner. Now, though, I have to admit another Godden story, The Kitchen Madonna, might just give Holly and Ivy a run for their money. Continue reading
What’s your favorite Sherlock Holmes story?
Every Holmes fan has a different answer to that question. My own has always been “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane.” Published in 1926, “Lion’s Mane” is the final installment in the collection entitled The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. Because the Case-Book was the last Holmes anthology Conan Doyle published, “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane” was the last story Sherlock Holmes (in his original incarnation, at any rate) would ever appear in. Continue reading
Chaim Potok (1929-2002): New York native. Orthodox Jew. Rabbi. Bestselling author. Clearly a fascinating literary figure, by anyone’s standards. Continue reading
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
When Arthur O’Shaughnessy wrote his famous ode to the power of the poet’s imagination in 1873, he had no inkling how prophetic those words would prove. A poet’s imagination and dreams molded and fired the Easter Rising of 1916—the final catalyst of Irish independence, after four centuries of British oppression. That poet was Joseph Mary Plunkett, and 1916 was his last year on earth. Continue reading
I was raised to believe in legends.
When I say that, I don’t just mean any legends. I mean the legends of the saints.
The word “legends” is not to imply that I’ve stopped believing in Catholic saints as an adult. I know they were (in most cases) real historical figures, and I have a reverence for the holy lives they led. But I now realize certain stories told about these men and women aren’t necessarily true… or, at least, aren’t verifiable. Maybe St. Patrick didn’t really turn the evil ruler into a fox and maybe St. Anthony didn’t really preach to the fishes in the sea when the townspeople cast him out. I won’t go on record saying it’s false, but I won’t go on record saying it’s true, either. Continue reading
You know it, and I know it. Superhero films are fun. They’re fast. Action-packed. Colorful. They feature inspiring journeys, by relatable protagonists—many of whom I love. Yet, even given my fondness for the genre there’s one superhero film which rests deeper in my heart than any other. And that would be… well, what else? The Winter Soldier. Continue reading
As a professional student of American history, there are many reasons why I have an enormous respect for Malcolm X. The most powerful of these reasons, however, is also the simplest: he was a man who never feared to change his mind. Continue reading
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
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