Before the memory of 2017 fades entirely from our minds, I wanted to slide in with an ever-so-slightly belated list of faves to share. I'll keep it short and sweet, since I know you've all already seen a million of these round-ups, but I for one will never turn down recommendations from a person whose tastes I trust—do you trust me, readers?Read More
As I wrote last year, despite popular opinion, I am actually a big fan of end-of-the-year lists, roundups, and rankings. I like to hear people talk about things they love, I like getting recommendations from smart people, and I like forcing things I enjoy onto the people around me, so this is basically my favorite time of year.
Here's the first half of my Best of 2016 compilation, specifically focused on all forms of media.Read More
I didn't manage to do much writing on this blog over the summer (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), but I did read quite a lot, so now I'm going to write about that! Here is a recap of some of the books I tackled this summer, with recommendations for ALL types of readers (well all types who like either really good books or really engaging borderline-trashy psychothrillers...). This is going to be a bit long, since I've saved up a baker's dozen books to talk about all at once. In the future, I'll try to do more regular book reports when something is worth talking about.Read More
I've been wanting to do this kind of post for quite a while, but I never seemed to get around to it. I've seen other bloggers use this sort of trope and of course it's a central section every week on my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour. It just seems like a nice way to talk about some things that have been making my life better lately and that you might be able to enjoy, too.Read More
Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorite books ever. I've read it many, many times and I always find new things to love about it. I also taught it several times back when I was running undergrad English and writing classes in graduate school. I think it's an astonishing book, not just for its powerful, uncanny vision of the not-so-distant future, but also for the beautiful, poetic ways that Atwood uses language. Indeed, language—how it is used, how it changes, who get to use it, private versus public voices and vocabularies, and, to quote another great poetic work, "who lives, who dies, who tells your story"—is one of the main themes of the novel. Ugh, I just love this book. If you haven't read it, you really should, ESPECIALLY if you, like me, live in or around Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the book is set. Reading The Handmaid's Tale has been an even richer experience for me since moving to Cambridge. I can walk through Harvard Square and see glimpses of Atwood's Gilead superimposed upon the walls or ready to rise from beneath the surface of the streets, like the palimpsest that Atwood herself evokes on the first page of the novel.Read More
Many people lament the trend toward end-of-year lists and best-of round-ups, but then again many people are terrible. I am not beholden to terrible, joy-despising people. Sharing awesome things is a joy-conducive activity and one that I'm very fond of, so without further ado, here are just a few of my favorites from 2015. This is Part 1 (books and music); Part 2 (food, podcasts--yes, podcasts again--and other fun things) is TK in the near future.
**NB: These are things I enjoyed this calendar year, not necessarily things that were released in the last 12 months. I'm behind the curve pretty much always, but on the assumption that you might be, too, I hazard that some of these might still be useful!**Read More
For many of our younger years, the back-to-school season is one filled with turbulence and excitement. Even long after we've graduated and left the academic calendar behind, there's often a certain irrepressible, nostalgic frisson that comes on around the first weeks of September, alongside the clichéd images of fresh pencils and school buses. For me, the magic lasted longer than for most other people, since I went back to graduate school just two years after graduating from college. I started a masters program in English literature in 2009 and moved on to a PhD program just a year later. That meant that starting in fall 2010, not only did back-to-school mean back to classes for me, it also meant back to teaching. If you think fall is thrilling and nerve-wracking as a student, just try it as a brand-new teacher.Read More
This is a review for the novel Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, set in the same universe as the podcast of that shares its name. This book is not yet published, although you can preorder it for when it does come out on October 20—I was lucky enough to be able to get a free ARC, or advance reader copy, when I was at Book Expo America* for work in May. I realize that this puts me in a privileged position, so I'm going to try to avoid any spoilers or proprietary information.Read More