Louise Erdrich: Read to Live

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On Monday the 16th a couple of us went to see Louise Erdrich give a reading from her new novel, LaRose, out now in hardcover from HarperCollins. This novel is set in Ojibwe territory in North Dakota and draws inspiration from a story Erdrich’s mother told her about a family who shared their son with the parents of a child they’d accidentally killed. LaRose, the young boy who is given to the wronged family in Erdrich’s novel, is the fifth of his name, the favorite child of his father, Landreaux. He’s a spiritual boy who communes with his ancestors and has a strong relationship with the young girl Maggie, who thinks he’s a saint. When we saw her, Erdrich read two passages about Maggie, one a harrowing passage of violence narrowly escaped, the other a tense yet hilarious account of a volleyball game Maggie’s team wins. After the reading, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions about where Erdrich draws inspiration for her novels (from her rich heritage and her ancestors), how she feels about the education system on reservations (we need to celebrate Native American teachers and build more immersion schools where children can learn traditional Native American languages), and what books she would recommend (works by Tracy K. Smith, Marlon James, and Ocean Vuong, among others).

Win a Signed Copy of Love Medicine!

We were lucky enough to meet Erdrich briefly and get a signed copy of one of her most popular books, Love Medicine. Since this book is often taught in high school, we thought we would give a student a chance to win this autographed copy of Love Medicine, which includes a personalized message from Erdrich herself: “Read to love.” It’s good advice for readers of any age.

Check out the inscription below, and let us know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram if you want this special copy. We’ll pick one lucky eNoter at random.

Many thanks to Town Hall Seattle and Elliott Bay for sponsoring the event and letting us attend!

love-medicine-signed

10 Must-Read Graphic Novels (for the Graphic Novel N00b)

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If you’re a graphic novel newbie, chances are that when you hear the term “graphic novel,” you immediately think, “Oh, a comic book!” or something else to that effect. And who could blame you? With the ever-growing popularity of the Marvel Universe and the continuous makes and remakes of the Batman franchise, it seems that comic books are everywhere—and they certainly are graphic novels. But as it turns out, there’s more to this variety of storytelling than colorfully-dressed, muscly people with inhuman powers! In fact, while superhero comics have their place (and it’s a big place, mind you), there are a whole host of graphic novels about real-world issues that delve into intriguing, funny, mysterious, and even downright scary stories. Continue Reading ›

Celebrate Limerick Day: Learn About Edward Lear

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“There once was a man named Lear
Who wrote poems that pleased the ear,
He lived long ago,
But his name we do know,
Because his work still brings us great cheer!”

–Kate Gawlowski

Why do we love limericks? It might be the light language, the funny words, and the clever rhymes, all nicely pieced together with a happy bit of nonsense. But limerick-lovers today may not be immediately familiar with Edward Lear—though he is the man who championed the limerick over 150 years ago. (Believe it or not, there was a time before the creation of limericks, and it must have been a dark time at that.) Continue Reading ›

Remember More Than Just Rabbits: Understanding “Of Mice and Men”

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When people talk about influential pieces of American literature, there are a few titles you can just about guarantee will be thrown into the discussion, i.e. To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, Huckleberry Finnand oh yeah, Of Mice and Men (kudos to Steinbeck for making my off-the-cuff list twice). Chances are that even if you haven’t read any of these titles (though that is unlikely, knowing how popularly they are assigned as staples of high school reading lists), you have at the very least heard of them. Continue Reading ›

Scholarship Spotlight: May 2016

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Every month, we select some of the best scholarships around and post them here on our blog. When you are ready to apply, check out our tips on How to Write a Scholarship Essay.

Visit eNotes Essay Lab if you’re looking for a writing expert to review and provide feedback on your scholarship or college application essays! Continue Reading ›

Understanding “To Kill a Mockingbird”: Top Q&A from Students

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It may just be impossible to consider classic American literature without delving into the story of To Kill a Mockingbird. Written by Harper Lee and published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most well-known and impactful works of literature within the last century, and arguably on a more historical level as well. The novel tackles the realities of racial inequalities, gender roles, and class-based hierarchies as they existed in the 1930s, particularly in the American Deep South. Harper Lee was raised in the small town of Monroeville, Alabama and grew up experiencing life as it appears in her novel. Her father was even a lawyer who may have provided a great deal of inspiration for the character Atticus; in his day, Lee’s father worked to defend two black men accused of the murder of a white store clerk. Continue Reading ›

How-to Sell Back Your Textbooks

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In high school, it is pretty commonplace to have textbooks provided for you—and, assuming you return them, you don’t have to pay a dime. But college students (or high schoolers taking special classes with fancy books) know that books can get a little… let’s say pricey. Though a more precise description would be something along the lines of astronomically expensive. Continue Reading ›